WASHINGTON – Today, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated two senior members of the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG) engaged in trafficking high-caliber firearms from the United States and fuel theft in Mexico. Additionally, OFAC designated another individual and one Mexican entity that provide support to CJNG by laundering illicit narcotics proceeds. CJNG is a violent Mexico-based drug trafficking organization responsible for a significant proportion of fentanyl and other deadly drugs trafficked into the United States.
“CJNG relies upon a web of criminal activity that ultimately strengthens its ability to traffic fentanyl and other deadly drugs to the United States. Today’s action disrupts key support networks engaged in arms trafficking, fuel theft, and drug-related money laundering,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. “Treasury, in close coordination with the Government of Mexico and U.S. law enforcement, will continue to target those who support and supply drug trafficking and criminal organizations, especially those engaged in the production and distribution of synthetic opioids that claim the lives of tens of thousands of Americans each year.”
Today’s action was coordinated closely with the Government of Mexico, including La Unidad de Inteligencia Financiera (Mexico’s Financial Intelligence Unit), and is the result of ongoing collaboration with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and United States Northern Command (NORTHCOM).
CJNG ARMS TRAFFICKERS
Alonso Guerrero Covarrubias (a.k.a. “El Ocho”) and Javier Guerrero Covarrubias are violent senior CJNG members engaged in various criminal activities on behalf of CJNG, including the trafficking of weapons from the United States into Mexico, fuel theft, and drug trafficking activities.
OFAC designated Alonso Guerrero Covarrubias and Javier Guerrero Covarrubias pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 14059 for being directed by, or having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, CJNG.
On July 11, 2022, OFAC designated another member of the Guerrero Covarrubias’ weapons trafficking network—Obed Christian Sepulveda Portillo—pursuant to E.O. 14059, for being directed by, or acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, CJNG.
CJNG MONEY LAUNDERING
Based in Jalisco, Mexico, Mary Cruz Rodriguez Aguirre directs a money laundering network moving illicit funds between the United States and Mexico, including on behalf of CJNG. Mary Cruz Rodriguez Aguirre works as broker for CJNG regional commander Audias Flores Silva, arranging the movement of drug proceeds from the United States to Mexico. On April 13, 2021, OFAC identified Audias Flores Silva as a significant foreign narcotics trafficker pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, and the Department of State announced a reward offer through the Narcotics Rewards Program of up to $5 million for information leading to Audias Flores Silva’s arrest and/or conviction.
Using her currency exchange house Nacer Agencia Panamericana de Divisas y Centro Cambiario, S.A. de C.V. and a network of U.S.-based businesses, Mary Cruz Rodriguez Aguirre uses a trade-based money laundering system to move illicit narcotics proceeds from the United States to Mexico. From 2020 to 2022, Mary Cruz Rodriguez Aguirre facilitated the collection and laundering of over $6,000,000.
OFAC designated Mary Cruz Rodriguez Aguirre pursuant to E.O. 14059 for having provided, or attempted to provide, financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services in support of CJNG. OFAC designated Nacer Agencia Panamericana de Divisas y Centro Cambiario, S.A. de C.V. pursuant to E.O. 14059 for being owned, controlled, or directed by, or having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Mary Cruz Rodriguez Aguirre.
As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the designated individuals and entities that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked. OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or within the United States (including transactions transiting the United States) that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons.
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. This action demonstrates the Administration’s strengthened approach to saving lives by disrupting the trafficking of illicit fentanyl and its precursors into American communities. OFAC, in coordination with its U.S. Government partners and foreign counterparts, will continue to target and pursue accountability for foreign illicit drug actors.
In addition, persons that engage in certain transactions with the individuals and entities designated today may themselves be exposed to sanctions or subject to an enforcement action.
The power and integrity of OFAC sanctions derive not only from OFAC’s ability to designate and add persons to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List), but also from its willingness to remove persons from the SDN List consistent with the law. The ultimate goal of sanctions is not to punish, but to bring about a positive change in behavior. For information concerning the process for seeking removal from an OFAC list, including the SDN List, please refer to OFAC’s Frequently Asked Question 897. For detailed information on the process to submit a request for removal from an OFAC sanctions list, please click here.