On May 9, 2023, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated four individuals and two entities with ties to the Sinaloa Cartel and a network led by “Los Chapitos,” a faction of four sons of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera. Under El Chapo’s leadership, the Sinaloa Cartel became one of largest and most notorious drug trafficking organizations in Mexico. These designations were the result of a coordinated effort between the united States and the Government of Mexico; they were issued pursuant to Executive Order 14059, which targets persons who contribute to the international proliferation of illicit drugs or their means of production.
Among the new designees is Joaquin Guzman Lopez, who is allegedly responsible for the management of super labs run by the cartel, and the trafficking of illicit drugs into the United States. According to OFAC, Joaquin was first indicted in the US in 2018 in the District of Columbia on federal drug trafficking charges, and was subsequently charged in the Northern District of Illinois in multiple superseding indictments, one of which was unsealed on April 14, 2023. Other designees include a company and individuals who allegedly supplied the Sinaloa Cartel with precursor chemicals and lab equipment used to manufacture illegal drugs, or were involved in the manufacture or shipment of drugs on the cartel’s behalf. While all four members of Los Chapitos have been indicted for drug-related crimes in the US, three of the brothers, including Joaquin, remain fugitives from justice.
As a result of these designations, all property and interests in property of the designees within the United States or within the possession or control of a US person are blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions involving the designated persons unless authorized by OFAC. US persons may also face civil or criminal penalties for violating EO 14059.