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Treasury Targets Front Companies and Individuals Tied to Mexican Drug Cartels

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The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today identified 30 companies and individuals associated with two Mexican drug trafficking organizations pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act).  

Today's action deals another blow to the notorious Mexican drug cartels by targeting their financial webs, said Robert Werner, Director of OFAC.   In addition, we're utilizing critical authorities that allow us to freeze assets while we further investigate their potential ties to Mexican drug kingpins.

This action identifies nine companies and eight individuals associated with the Arriola Marquez Organization and three companies and four individuals associated with the Arellano Felix Organization.  

OFAC has also blocked pending investigation an additional six Mexican individuals associated with Mexican drug kingpins Oscar Arturo Arriola Marquez and Miguel Angel Arriola Marquez, leaders of the Arriola Marquez Organization.  

These actions prohibit U.S. persons from engaging in financial and commercial transactions with the designees and freeze any assets the designees may have located in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons.

Signed into law on December 3, 1999 and administered by OFAC, the Kingpin Act applies economic sanctions against narcotics traffickers on a worldwide basis.

Arriola Marquez Organization

Oscar Arturo Arriola Marquez, Miguel Angel Arriola Marquez and the Arriola Marquez Organization were all identified by President Bush as drug kingpins on June 1, 2005. The Arriola Marquez Organization, based in Saucillo, Chihuahua, Mexico is linked to Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin Guzman Loera (Chapo Guzman) and the Carrillo Fuentes Organization, previously named as drug kingpins by the President. The Arriola Marquez Organization controls a significant flow of marijuana and cocaine from Mexico into the United States.  Oscar and Miguel Arriola Marquez are indicted in the District of Colorado for drug trafficking and money laundering violations.

Today's action targets eight individuals and nine companies that are part of the money laundering network owned or controlled by the Arriola Marquez Organization.   Two additional Arriola Marquez brothers, Luis Raul and Edgar Fernando Arriola Marquez, are named, as well as other key front individuals.   In Chihuahua, Mexico, the front companies consist of two large cattle businesses - Corrales San Ignacio S.P.R. de R.L. de C.V. and Del Norte Carnes Finas San Ignacio S.A. de C.V., two real estate firms - Inmobiliaria El Escorpion del Norte S.A. de C.V. and Inmobiliaria El Preson S.A. de C.V., an automotive sales company - Auto Express Dorados S.A. de C.V., a gasoline distributor - Gasolineras San Fernando S.A. de C.V., and a food processing/distribution conglomerate Chihuahua Foods S.A. de C.V. and Indio Vitorio S. de P.R. de R.L. de C.V. A Mexican currency exchange house, Cambios Palmilla S.A. de C.V., which serves as a major financial front for the Arriola Marquez Organization, is also designated.   All of these front companies launder U.S. currency illicitly earned through narcotics sales in the United States and bulk smuggled back to Mexico.

OFAC has blocked pending investigation six additional Mexican individuals associated with Oscar Arturo Arriola Marquez and Miguel Angel Arriola Marquez.   A U.S. company, Corrales San Ignacio L.L.C., in Presidio, Texas, has been blocked.

Arellano Felix Organization

The Arellano Felix Organization was identified as a drug kingpin by President Bush on June 1, 2004.   Based in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, the Arellano Felix Organization orchestrates the transportation, importation and distribution of multi-ton quantities of cocaine, marijuana and large quantities of heroin and methamphetamine into the United States from Mexico.

The three companies and four individuals targeted today are associated with an Arellano Felix Organization financial network centered on the Mexican drugstore chain Farmacia Vida Suprema S.A. de C.V., which was designated by OFAC on January 31, 2002.   Farmacia Vida S.A. de C.V. formed the core of a group of front companies and individuals tied to Mexican drug kingpins Benjamin and Ramon Arellano Felix, named as drug kingpins by the President on June 1, 2000.   The front companies include Comercializadora Amia S.A. de C.V., Servicios Administrativos y de Organizacion S.C., and Kontroles Electronicos de Baja California S.A. de C.V., all located in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico.

OFAC continues to work closely with the Drug Enforcement Administration in its narcotics sanctions investigations to expose front companies and corrupt individuals controlled by the drug cartels in Mexico, Werner continued.

The action taken today adds 30 new names bringing the total number of Tier I and Tier II Kingpins under the Kingpin Act to 197:  57 drug kingpins worldwide, 46 companies in Mexico , Peru , and the Caribbean , and 94 other individuals in Mexico , Colombia , Peru , Jamaica and St. Kitts.

This action is part of the ongoing interagency effort by the Departments of Treasury, Justice, State, Defense and Homeland Security, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration to carry out the Kingpin Act.