On January 30, 2023, US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control announced the designation of Jose Angel Rivera Zazueta (“Rivera Zazueta”), the leader of a Mexico-based drug manufacturing and trafficking organization, and two of his associates for engaging in the procurement of chemicals used to manufacture illicit fentanyl and other synthetic drugs destined for the US. The three individuals were designated by OFAC pursuant to Executive Order 14059, for materially contributing to the international proliferation of illicit drugs or their means of production. According to OFAC, Rivera Zazueta’s global network is responsible for importing precursor chemicals from China into Mexico where they are used to create a variety of synthetic drugs. OFAC further reports that Rivera Zazueta has shipped these chemicals using Shanghai Fast-Fine Chemicals, a Chinese chemical transportation company that was previously designated by OFAC in 2021 pursuant to EO 14059.
As a result of these designations, all property and interests in property of today’s 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.