U.S. Treasury Imposes Sanctions on Mexican Individuals and Company Linked to Sinaloa Cartel’s Fentanyl Network
In a significant move, the U.S. Treasury Department announced on Wednesday the imposition of sanctions on 10 Mexican nationals and one company in connection with their alleged involvement in the expansive illicit fentanyl trafficking network of the Sinaloa Cartel.
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The U.S. Treasury has accused these 10 individuals of having ties to suppliers of precursor chemicals utilized in the production of fentanyl, a highly addictive painkiller that has been a major contributor to the opioid crisis in the United States, resulting in a sharp increase in overdose deaths.
Among the individuals added to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned list is Noel Lopez Perez, the brother of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s second wife. Additionally, Ricardo Paez Lopez, a cousin of the youngest son of “El Chapo,” is included in the list.
Following their father’s capture and subsequent extradition to the U.S. in 2016, the sons of “El Chapo,” known as “Los Chapitos,” are accused of leading a faction of the Sinaloa Cartel. Earlier this year, Mexico captured Ovidio Guzman Lopez, the fourth son.
In addition to individuals, the U.S. Treasury has also sanctioned REI Compania Internacional, an import-export company, and its majority shareholder for their alleged involvement in receiving chemical shipments from China.
In response to the Treasury’s announcement, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador expressed his appreciation for the U.S.’s responsible actions in combatting fentanyl and other drugs. However, he stressed the need for further action, stating, “It is necessary to attend the causes of the problem. It’s complex.”
Lopez Obrador further revealed that his Security Minister, Rosa Icela Rodriguez, would hold a meeting with U.S. Homeland Security adviser Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall later this month to discuss the issue at hand.
Under President Joe Biden’s administration, there has been a concerted effort to enhance cooperation with Mexico and China in curbing the flow of fentanyl and its precursor chemicals. These collaborative endeavors aim to address the pressing challenges posed by the fentanyl crisis.
As the impact of fentanyl continues to devastate communities, governments are working together to dismantle the networks that perpetuate its distribution. The sanctions imposed by the U.S. Treasury Department signify a step forward in disrupting the operations of the Sinaloa Cartel and holding accountable those involved in its illicit activities. With ongoing discussions and increased cooperation, the fight against fentanyl is being waged on multiple fronts in order to mitigate its harmful effects on public health and safety.