WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated six individuals pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 14059 because of their support for, or actions on behalf of, the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG), a violent Mexico-based organization that traffics a significant proportion of the fentanyl and other deadly drugs that enter the United States. Today’s action is the result of a collaboration between the U.S. Treasury Department, the Government of Mexico, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). U.S. Customs and Border Protection also provided support to this case.
“Violence and corruption have been critical to CJNG’s growth in the past decade,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. “These two forces have fueled the cartel’s territorial expansion, and with it a greater capacity to traffic deadly drugs to the United States. Meanwhile, support networks help CJNG’s fugitive leaders remain in hiding and evade justice. Treasury will continue working with U.S. partners and the Mexican government to target the violence, corruption, and facilitation that undergird CJNG’s power.”
Severo Flores Mendoza (Flores Mendoza) is a corrupt municipal police official and national of Mexico who provides law enforcement information to CJNG in exchange for bribes. Currently, Flores Mendoza is the police chief of Ameca, Jalisco, Mexico. He is also the coordinator of police chiefs for the Valles region of Jalisco, which is composed of 14 municipalities including Ameca. This region lies in the area between Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta. Flores Mendoza has held other law enforcement positions in Jalisco over the past decade. In 2014, Flores Mendoza failed a trust exam issued to police officials yet has continued his career in law enforcement.
Julio Cesar Montero Pinzon (Montero Pinzon) is part of a violent CJNG enforcement group based in Puerto Vallarta that orchestrates assassinations of rivals and politicians using high-powered weaponry. Mexican national Montero Pinzon is a close associate of Carlos Andres Rivera Varela (a.k.a. “La Firma”) and Francisco Javier Gudino Haro (a.k.a. “La Gallina”), who were previously designated. Puerto Vallarta is a CJNG strategic stronghold, not only for drug trafficking but also money laundering and extortion.
Saul Alejandro Rincon Godoy (Rincon Godoy) (a.k.a. “Chopa”) was a senior member of CJNG who recently died in Puerto Vallarta following a confrontation with Mexican authorities. Prior to his death, Rincon Godoy acted as the intermediary between CJNG leader Ruben Oseguera Cervantes (Osegura Cervantes, aka “Mencho”) and senior cartel members, and was linked to assassinations conducted by CJNG in Puerto Vallarta. He also led a network supporting Osegura Cervantes, which included his family members who are being designated today: Esther Godoy Arellano (mother), Angelberto Rincon Godoy (brother), Julio Efrain Rincon Godoy (brother), and Moises Gonzalez Anguiano (brother-in-law), who was recently arrested by Mexican authorities.
PREVIOUS ACTIONS AGAINST CJNG
On April 8, 2015, OFAC designated CJNG, along with its leader Oseguera Cervantes, pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act) for playing a significant role in international narcotics trafficking. On December 15, 2021, OFAC also designated CJNG and Oseguera Cervantes pursuant to E.O. 14059. 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 Oseguera Cervantes.
OFAC has also designated a wide range of businesses and individuals linked to CJNG and its close ally, the Los Cuinis Drug Trafficking Organization (Los Cuinis). 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 entities have engaged in the laundering of drug proceeds and represent attempts by CJNG and Los Cuinis to integrate their illicit profits into the legitimate economy. Among the sanctioned individuals are those who play critical roles in CJNG’s drug trafficking activities, including money laundering, and those who facilitate corrupt activities on behalf of CJNG and Los Cuinis.
As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of these designated individuals 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. U.S. persons may face civil or criminal penalties for violations of E.O. 14059 and the Kingpin Act.
Today’s action is part of a whole-of-government effort to counter the global threat posed by the trafficking of illicit drugs into the United States that is causing the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans annually, as well as countless more non-fatal overdoses. OFAC, in coordination with its U.S. Government partners and foreign counterparts, will continue to target and pursue accountability for foreign illicit drug actors.
U.S. sanctions need not be permanent; sanctions are intended to bring about a positive change of behavior. Consistent with the findings of Treasury’s 2021 Sanctions Review, the removal of sanctions is available for persons designated under counter narcotics authorities who demonstrate a change in behavior and no longer engage in activities linked to international illicit drug trafficking or other sanctionable activity.
For information concerning the process for seeking removal from any OFAC list, including the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List), please refer to OFAC’s Frequently Asked Question 897. Additional information regarding sanctions programs administered by OFAC can be found here.
Tips concerning the individuals designated today can be submitted to DEA by phone (+1-202-386-6377).