Designation Targets Companies and Individuals in Guadalajara, Mexico

Designation Targets Companies and Individuals in Guadalajara, Mexico

By Dialogo
June 17, 2013

On June 13, The U.S. Department of the Treasury designated 18 individuals and 15 entities linked to Rafael Caro Quintero, a Mexican drug trafficker. Rafael Caro Quintero is a significant Mexican narcotics trafficker who began his criminal career in the late 1970s when he and others, including Juan Jose Esparragoza Moreno (a.k.a. “El Azul”), formed the Guadalajara drug cartel and amassed an illicit fortune.

Caro Quintero was the mastermind behind the kidnapping and murder of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent (SA) Enrique Camarena in 1985.

Following his capture in the same year, Caro Quintero was convicted in Mexico for his involvement in SA Camarena’s murder and drug trafficking and is currently serving a 40 year prison sentence there.

Caro Quintero is also wanted in the Central District of California on criminal charges related to the kidnapping and murder of SA Camarena as well as drug trafficking.

Caro Quintero continues his alliance with Esparragoza Moreno’s organization and its key players, such as the previously-designated individual Juvencio Ignacio González Parada.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury identified Caro Quintero and Esparragoza Moreno as significant foreign narcotics traffickers pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act) in 2000 and 2003, respectively.

The action, pursuant to the Kingpin Act, generally prohibits U.S. persons from conducting financial or commercial transactions with these designees, and also freezes any assets they may have under U.S. jurisdiction.

“Rafael Caro Quintero has used a network of family members and front persons to invest his fortune into ostensibly legitimate companies and real estate projects in the city of Guadalajara” said Adam Szubin, Director of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). “With the assistance of the Government of Mexico, OFAC continues to target drug traffickers, the laundering of their ill-gotten gains, and those who assist them in their illicit activities.”

The action targets six of Rafael Caro Quintero’s family members, including his children Héctor Rafael Caro Elenes, Roxana Elizabeth Caro Elenes, Henoch Emilio Caro Elenes, and Mario Yibran Caro Elenes, his wife, María Elizabeth Elenes Lerma, and his daughter-in-law, Denisse Buenrostro Villa. Humberto Vargas Correa, a longtime personal secretary of Caro Quintero, was also designated.

These individuals own and/or manage a variety of companies in Guadalajara, which were also designated. These companies include: ECA Energéticos, S.A. de C.V., a gas station company; El Baño de Maria, S. de R.L. de C.V., a bath and beauty products store; Pronto Shoes, S.A. de C.V. (a.k.a. CX-Shoes), a shoe company; and Hacienda Las Limas, S.A. de C.V., a resort spa.

OFAC targeted members of the Sánchez Garza family, including the family patriarch, José de Jesus Sánchez Barba, along with his three sons, Mauricio Sánchez Garza, José de Jesus Sánchez Garza, and Diego Sánchez Garza. Mauricio Sánchez Garza is currently a fugitive from money laundering charges in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio).

OFAC also designated the following additional Sánchez Garza family members: Beatriz Garza Rodriguez, wife of José de Jesus Sánchez Barba; Hilda Riebeling Cordero, wife of Mauricio Sánchez Garza; and Ernesto Sánchez González and Rubén Sánchez González, both cousins of the Sánchez Garza family.

In addition, Michael Adib Madero; Diego Contreras Sánchez; and Luis Cortés Villaseñor were designated.

These designated individuals own and/or manage the following Guadalajara based companies, which were also designated: Grupo Fracsa, S.A. de C.V. and Dbardi, S.A. de C.V., real estate development companies; Grupo Constructor Segundo Milenio, S.A. de C.V., a construction company; Restaurant Bar Los Andariegos (a.k.a. Barbaresco Restaurant), a restaurant; and Piscilanea S.A. de C.V. (a.k.a. Albercas y Tinas Barcelona), a swimming pool company.

Penalties for violations of the Kingpin Act range from civil penalties of up to $1.075 million 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 million. Criminal fines for corporations may reach $10 million. Other individuals could face up to 10 years in prison and fines pursuant to Title 18 of the United States Code for criminal violations of the Kingpin Act.