OFAC Designates Four Entities and Three Individuals in the Guadalajara, Mexico Area
Washington – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated four Mexican entities and three Mexican individuals linked to the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG), the Los Cuinis Drug Trafficking Organization (Los Cuinis DTO), the Los Cuinis DTO leader Abigael Gonzalez Valencia, or their associates as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers (SDNTs) pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act). These sanctions apply continued pressure to these allied Mexican drug trafficking organizations, which OFAC designated on April 8, 2015, and their leadership. As a result of today's action, any assets these designees have under U.S. jurisdiction are frozen, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.
"Treasury continues to untangle and expose the web of businesses controlled by designated Mexican drug kingpins and their expansive trafficking networks," said OFAC Director John E. Smith. "Anyone who considers engaging in business with these cartels should know that we will continue to take strong action against these groups and their businesses to protect the U.S. financial system from abuse."
One of the entities designated today is Operadora Los Famosos, S.A. de C.V., a company which does business as Kenzo Sushi. This restaurant, located in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, is the successor entity to Mizu Sushi Lounge. OFAC designated Mizu Sushi Lounge on September 17, 2015 because it provided material assistance to the drug trafficking activities of CJNG. OFAC also designated today Alfonso Corona Romero and Edgar Alfonso Corona Robles, father and son, who are the nominal owners of Operadora Los Famosos, S.A. de C.V. Corona Romero and Corona Robles act as front persons for CJNG and the Los Cuinis DTO.
Comercializadora Trade Clear, S.A. de C.V., which does business as Bake and Kitchen and is tied to Abigael Gonzalez Valencia, was also designated today. This bakery and restaurant is located at Plaza Los Tules, a shopping center in the Guadalajara suburb of Zapopan, Jalisco, Mexico. OFAC designated Plaza Los Tules, which is now also known as Plaza Virreyes, on August 19, 2015 in part because it is controlled by Abigael Gonzalez Valencia. Jeniffer Beaney Camacho Cazares, the previously designated wife of Gonzalez Valencia, plays a vital role in Comercializadora Trade Clear, S.A. de C.V.
OFAC also designated today Salime Abouzaid El Bayeh because she manages Bake and Kitchen and conducts other activities on behalf of Abigael Gonzalez Valencia. Abouzaid El Bayeh previously worked at the aforementioned Mizu Sushi Lounge and had a role at Unomasuno, a Mexican newspaper designated on December 16, 2015 for providing material support to the drug trafficking activities of the Los Cuinis DTO and/or Abigael Gonzalez Valencia. Additionally, OFAC designated today Grupo de Alta Especialidad Farmaceutica, S.A. de C.V., a Guadalajara pharmaceutical distributor that is co-owned by Abouzaid El Bayeh.
The final entity designated today is Operadora de Reposterias y Restaurantes, S.A. de C.V., a cake business co-located with Bake and Kitchen at Plaza Los Tules. Silvia Romina Sanchez Carlon, who was previously designated in part because she acts on behalf of Abigael Gonzalez Valencia, is the co-owner of this business.
In addition to these designations, OFAC identified Cabanas La Loma as the new name for the previously designated entity Las Flores Cabanas. This entity, a vacation cabin rental business located in Tapalpa, Jalisco, Mexico, was designated on September 17, 2015 because it provided material assistance to the drug trafficking activities of CJNG.
In March 2014, based on an investigation led by the Los Angeles Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), a federal grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia indicted brothers-in-law Abigael Gonzalez Valencia and Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, on several charges, including being the principal leaders of a Continuing Criminal Enterprise. Gonzalez Valencia was captured in Mexico in late February 2015, but Oseguera Cervantes remains a fugitive. OFAC and DEA's Los Angeles Field Division worked closely to execute today's action.
Since June 2000, more than 2,000 individuals and entities 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 $1,437,153 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.