March 25, 2024

U.S. sanctions members of Sinaloa Cartel for their involvement in a scheme to launder drug proceeds

The United States recently designated 15 Sinaloa Cartel members, including several fugitives, and 6 Mexico-based businesses for their alleged roles in a Black Market Peso Exchange (“BMPE”) scheme responsible for laundering millions of dollars in illicit proceeds for the Sinaloa Cartel.  According to the Office of Foreign Assets Control, the Sinaloa Cartel is one of the most notorious drug trafficking organizations in the world and is responsible for trafficking large quantities of illicit fentanyl and other deadly drugs into the United States.

The designations were announced by Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo during a trip to Arizona where he had had been meeting with federal, state, and local law enforcement officials to discuss collaborative efforts to combat the trafficking of illicit fentanyl.  According to OFAC, the sanctions build upon actions taken by the Treasury’s Counter-Fentanyl Strike Force, which utilize the Treasury’s unique expertise and capabilities to disrupt financial networks used by the cartels.  This action was also closely coordinated with local members of the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) and the Government of Mexico.

All of the designations were imposed pursuant to Executive Order 14059 for engaging in activities that materially contribute to the international proliferation of illicit drugs or their means of production.  As a result of the designations, all property and interests in property of the designated persons within the United States or within the possession or control of a U.S. person are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions involving a designated person.  Entities owned 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.

U.S. Department of Treasury Press Release | OFAC – Sinaloa Cartel Chart