Today’s Action Designates Two Key Associates of Chapo Guzman’s Son
WASHINGTON – The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today designated two Mexican nationals, Guadalupe Fernandez Valencia and Jorge Mario Valenzuela Verdugo, pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act). These individuals were designated for their criminal activities in support or on behalf of the Sinaloa Cartel or certain of its high-ranking members. Today’s action follows the January 2015 unsealing of an indictment by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois against Fernandez Valencia, Valenzuela Verdugo, and other Sinaloa Cartel co-defendants including Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman Loera and his son, Jesus Alfredo Guzman Salazar. As a result of today’s action, any assets these two individuals may have under U.S. jurisdiction are frozen, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.
“As Sinaloa Cartel lieutenants for Jesus Alfredo Guzman Salazar, Fernandez Valencia and Valenzuela Verdugo ultimately bolster the power and influence of Chapo Guzman’s nefarious criminal activities,” said OFAC Acting Director John E. Smith. “Treasury will continue to aggressively constrain the financial resources of those who support Mexican drug lord Chapo Guzman and his illicit drug and money laundering operations.”
In the unsealed indictment, Guadalupe Fernandez Valencia and Jorge Mario Valenzuela Verdugo were charged with drug trafficking and money laundering, and identified as Sinaloa Cartel lieutenants for Chapo Guzman’s son, Jesus Alfredo Guzman Salazar. Guadalupe Fernandez Valencia, who is originally from Michoacán, moves both drugs and money for the Sinaloa Cartel. She is also the sister of Sinaloa Cartel drug trafficker and Chapo Guzman associate, Manuel Fernandez Valencia, who is currently in U.S. federal custody. Jorge Mario Valenzuela Verdugo manages drug distribution activities for the Sinaloa Cartel in Culiacan, Sinaloa, and Guadalajara, Jalisco.
The President identified Joaquin Guzman Loera and the Sinaloa Cartel as significant foreign narcotics traffickers pursuant to the Kingpin Act in 2001 and 2009, respectively. OFAC designated the Guzman Salazar brothers in May and June 2012 for their criminal activities on behalf of their father, Chapo Guzman, and the Sinaloa Cartel.
Today’s action was taken in close coordination with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Chicago Field Division, as well as the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois. This designation is part of a larger effort, in collaboration with the Government of Mexico, to use financial sanctions aggressively to disrupt Mexican drug trafficking organizations.
Since June 2000, more than 1,800 entities and individuals have been named pursuant to the Kingpin Act for their role in international narcotics trafficking. Penalties for violations of the Kingpin Act range from civil penalties of up to $1.075 million per violation to more severe criminal penalties. Criminal penalties for corporate officers may include up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $5 million. Criminal fines for corporations may reach $10 million. Other individuals could face up to 10 years in prison and fines pursuant to Title 18 of the United States Code for criminal violations of the Kingpin Act.
To view a chart pertaining to today’s action, click here.
To see the identifying information pertaining to today’s actions, click here.
For a complete listing of designations pursuant to the Kingpin Act, click here.
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