Press Releases

Treasury Designates Members of Drug Trafficking Family Associated with Sinaloa Cartel Leadership

(Archived Content)

Action Targets Lieutenants of Ismael Zambada Garcia

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury today announced the designation of three Mexican nationals pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act).  Felipe, Alejandro, and Jose Luis Cabrera Sarabia are major heroin and marijuana suppliers for the Sinaloa Cartel based in the state of Durango, Mexico.  As a result of today’s action, these individuals’ assets within U.S. jurisdiction are frozen, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them

“OFAC’s designation of the Cabrera Sarabia brothers targets one of the Sinaloa Cartel’s most established and influential drug trafficking partners,” said John E. Smith, Acting Director of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).  “This action demonstrates our determination to disrupt Mexico-based cultivators of not only marijuana but also poppy, which is increasingly being produced and processed into heroin by Mexican drug traffickers for distribution to U.S. markets.”  

The Cabrera Sarabia brothers are being designated for materially assisting, supporting, providing services to, and/or acting for or on behalf of Ismael Zambada Garcia, the Sinaloa Cartel, and/or Joaquin Guzman Loera.  The President identified Guzman Loera, Zambada Garcia, and the Sinaloa Cartel as significant foreign narcotics traffickers pursuant to the Kingpin Act in 2001, 2002, and 2009, respectively.

Felipe Cabrera Sarabia, along with Sinaloa Cartel leaders Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman Loera and Ismael “Mayo” Zambada Garcia, was named in a superseding indictment unsealed by the Northern District of Illinois in January 2012 for drug trafficking.  Since 1996, the Cabrera Sarabia brothers have served a pivotal role in the Ismael Zambada Garcia drug trafficking organization.  Felipe Cabrera Sarabia is a long time lieutenant of Zambada Garcia in the Mexican state of Durango, where he controlled large-scale marijuana and poppy cultivation operations and was responsible for the transportation of marijuana and heroin into the United States.  Felipe Cabrera Sarabia also obtained ton quantities of cocaine from Zambada Garcia and transported the cocaine to the United States, specifically the Chicago, Illinois area.  Mexican authorities arrested Felipe Cabrera Sarabia in Culiacan, Sinaloa on December 23, 2011, and his extradition to the United States is pending.

Today, OFAC also designated Alejandro Cabrera Sarabia and Jose Luis Cabrera Sarabia.  Following the 2011 arrest of Felipe Cabrera Sarabia, Alejandro Cabrera Sarabia assumed control of the family drug trafficking organization in Durango for the Zambada Garcia organization.  Alejandro assisted Zambada Garcia with transporting ton quantities of narcotics into the United States via the Mexican state of Baja California. Mexican authorities arrested Alejandro Cabrera Sarabia in Culiacan on February 11, 2013.   Jose Luis Cabrera Sarabia manages the Cabrera Sarabia family ranches and assists with marijuana transportation logistics.       

Today’s action was taken in close coordination with the Chicago Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois and the government of Mexico.  This designation is part of a larger effort to use financial sanctions to aggressively disrupt Mexican drug trafficking organizations.

Since June 2000, more than 1,700 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.

For a chart relating to today’s actions click here

For a complete listing of designations pursuant to the Kingpin Act, click here.