WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Carlos Andres Rivera Varela and Francisco Javier Gudino Haro, who are violent members of the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG). These two individuals have allegedly helped orchestrate assassinations using high-powered weaponry on behalf of CJNG, a Mexico-based organization that is responsible for trafficking a significant proportion of the fentanyl and other deadly drugs that enter the United States. Also today, OFAC designated travel agent Alejandro Chacon Miranda, who facilitates travel that is often related to illicit activities for senior CJNG members and their allies. Additionally, OFAC designated two businesses located in Mexico. Today’s action is the result of OFAC’s ongoing collaboration with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), including the Los Angeles Field Division, and is part of a larger effort to disrupt CJNG by coordinating with multiple U.S. government partners, such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).
“Today’s action is a reminder that Treasury will continue to sanction those providing support to CJNG, whether that person is a violent actor or a complicit businessperson,” said OFAC Director Andrea M. Gacki. “CJNG is a major contributor to the illicit drugs, including fentanyl, flooding the United States. Treasury will continue working with its partner U.S. government agencies to disrupt and dismantle this cartel.”
ATF Associate Deputy Director Marvin G. Richardson commented, “ATF continues to work with all our partners in Mexico and the United States to combat the firearm-related violence that surrounds the illegal drug trade. The cooperation among local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies and the government of Mexico is the foundation for combating cross-border firearms trafficking by organized criminal groups. ATF remains committed to our strategy of working in conjunction with our domestic and international law enforcement partners to deny the ‘tools of the trade’ to the firearms trafficking infrastructure of criminal organizations operating in Mexico and along the border.”
“CJNG has a significant footprint in the United States and is responsible for the distribution of the majority of lethal drugs that we see in our communities,” said DEA Los Angeles Special Agent in Charge Bill Bodner. “The actions taken exemplify our unyielding commitment to destroy criminal organizations that jeopardize public safety.”
Today’s action targets persons based in the Mexican state of Jalisco who are affiliated with CJNG and its senior members, including Gonzalo Mendoza Gaytan (a.k.a. “El Sapo”). On May 17, 2019, OFAC designated Mendoza Gaytan, who has been the CJNG plaza boss for Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico and who is responsible for significant violence.
Among the persons designated today are Carlos Andres Rivera Varela (a.k.a. “La Firma”), a dual Colombian-Mexican national, and Francisco Javier Gudino Haro (a.k.a. “La Gallina”), a Mexican national, who lead a CJNG enforcement group based in Puerto Vallarta. They were designated because they are foreign persons materially assisting in, or providing financial or technological support for or to, or providing goods or services in support of, CJNG. This group conducts violent attacks against rivals and government officials that ultimately benefit CJNG’s territorial control and drug trafficking activities. For example, this group is allegedly responsible for the attempted assassination, using high-powered weaponry, of Mexico City’s Secretary for Public Security in Mexico City on June 26, 2020. The same group was also allegedly behind the assassination of the former Jalisco Governor in Puerto Vallarta on December 18, 2020. Rivera Varela, who is originally from Cali, Colombia, has resided in Mexico for many years. Gudino Haro, a native of Jalisco, owns or controls the Puerto Vallarta-registered agricultural company Agricola Costa Alegre S.P.R. de R.L., which was also designated today.
The other person designated today was Mexican travel agent Alejandro Chacon Miranda, who has links to Mendoza Gaytan. Chacon Miranda was designated because he is a foreign person materially assisting in, or providing financial or technological support for or to, or providing goods or services in support of, CJNG. Chacon Miranda arranges travel for CJNG members and their allies, including trips that facilitate the movement of money and drugs. Chacon Miranda owns Dale Tours, a Guadalajara-area travel agency that was also designated today, and uses it to provide services to CJNG.
PREVIOUS U.S. GOVERNMENT ACTIONS AGAINST CJNG AND LOS CUINIS
Today’s Kingpin Act designations mark OFAC’s thirteenth action against CJNG, which was designated on April 8, 2015, along with its leader, Ruben Oseguera Cervantes (a.k.a. “Mencho”), for playing a significant role in international narcotics trafficking. In previous actions, OFAC designated a wide range of businesses and individuals linked to CJNG and its close ally, the previously designated Los Cuinis Drug Trafficking Organization. The previously designated businesses in Mexico include shopping centers, real estate companies, agricultural companies, a music promotion business, and a luxury boutique hotel. Many of these Mexican entities have engaged in the laundering of drug proceeds and represent attempts by CJNG and Los Cuinis to integrate themselves into the legitimate economy. Among the previously designated individuals are those who play critical roles in CJNG’s drug trafficking activities, including money laundering, and those who facilitate corruption activities on behalf of CJNG and Los Cuinis.
The U.S. Department of State’s Narcotics Rewards Program has issued a reward of up to $10 million for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of Ruben Oseguera Cervantes. Tips can be submitted to DEA by phone (+1-213-237-9990), through Twitter (@DEALosAngeles), and by email (MENCHOTIPS@usdoj.gov).
As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the designated individuals or entities that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC. OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or persons within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons.
Since June 2000, more than 2,200 entities and individuals have been sanctioned 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 $ 1,548,075 per violation to more severe criminal penalties. Criminal penalties for corporate officers may include up to 30 years in prison and fines of 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 more information on the individual designated today, click here.
To view the Kingpin Act chart on the individual designated today, click here.