U.S. Sanctions Leaders of Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas
Mexico City, July 20, 2009 – Today the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated the leaders of the Gulf cartel, Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sanchez and Ezequiel Cardenas Guillen, as well as the leaders of Los Zetas, Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano and Miguel Angel Trevino Morales under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act. This designation freezes the assets of these four individuals under U.S. jurisdiction and prohibits U.S. persons from conducting transactions or dealing with them. The four individuals have been indicted by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and are wanted by Mexican and U.S. authorities. With this designation, OFAC continues supporting the binational antinarcotics efforts by targeting the financial resources of the Gulf cartel and the Zetas.
OFAC Press Release
Treasury Sanctions Mexican Drug Lords
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today designated Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sanchez (alias “El Coss”), Ezequiel Cardenas Guillen (alias “Tony Tormenta”), Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano (alias “Lazca”) and Miguel Angel Trevino Morales (alias “Cuarenta”) as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act). Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sanchez and Ezequiel Cardenas Guillen are leaders of the Gulf Cartel while Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano and Miguel Angel Trevino Morales are leaders of Los Zetas. Los Zetas, historically considered to be the armed-wing of the Gulf Cartel, often operate independently of the Gulf Cartel.
“OFAC remains committed to doing its part to assist President Calderon’s war against organized crime. By targeting four of Mexico’s most violent and prolific drug lords, OFAC begins targeting the financial channels of the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas,” said OFAC Director Adam J. Szubin.
In 2007 and 2009 respectively, the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas were identified as significant foreign narcotics traffickers pursuant to the Kingpin Act. The Gulf Cartel is responsible for the smuggling and distribution of significant amounts of cocaine and marijuana to the United States. Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sanchez and Ezequiel Cardenas Guillen direct the Gulf Cartel’s trafficking and sale of narcotics and ensure the flow of illicit proceeds earned from the drug trade back to the Gulf Cartel’s coffers. Ezequiel Cardenas Guillen is the brother of Osiel Cardenas Guillen, who was identified as a significant foreign narcotics trafficker pursuant to the Kingpin Act in 2001. Osiel Cardenas Guillen was extradited from Mexico to the United States in January 2007.
Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano and Miguel Angel Trevino Morales are leaders of Los Zetas, and they control drug smuggling operations and battle rival cartels trying to expand into Gulf Cartel/Zeta territory. The Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas are responsible for much of the violence taking place in Mexico today.
All four individuals designated today are fugitives. In March 2008 and in May 2009 the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia indicted the principal leaders of the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas, including those designated by OFAC today. The U.S. Department of State is offering a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the capture and/or conviction of Jorge Costilla Sanchez. In March 2009, the Mexican Attorney General’s Office also announced rewards of up to $2.4 million dollars (30,000,000 pesos), per individual, for information leading to the capture of all four individuals designated today.
This action is part of ongoing efforts under the Kingpin Act to apply financial measures against significant foreign narcotics traffickers worldwide. Internationally, more than 475 businesses and individuals associated with 82 drug kingpins have been designated by OFAC pursuant to the Kingpin Act since June 2000.
The designation action freezes any assets the 4 designees may have under U.S. jurisdiction and prohibits U.S. persons from conducting transactions or dealings in the property interests of the designated individuals and entities. Penalties for violations of the Kingpin Act range from civil penalties of up to $1,075,000 per violation to more severe criminal penalties. Criminal penalties for corporate officers may include up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $5,000,000. Criminal fines for corporations may reach $10,000,000. Other individuals face up to 10 years in prison for criminal violations of the Kingpin Act and fines pursuant to Title 18 of the United States Code.