Treasury Designates Additional Sinaloa-Based Drug Trafficking Organization
By Dialogo January 24, 2013On January 17, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced the designation of the Meza Flores Drug Trafficking Organization, including its leader, Fausto Isidro Meza Flores, several key family members, and three companies, all of which help facilitate the operations of the organization.
The announcement, pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act), is the first designation and listing of the Meza Flores narcotics operation as a Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO). This means that anyone providing material support to, or acting for or on behalf of the Meza Flores DTO, can be designated by OFAC in future actions. This designation generally prohibits U.S. persons from engaging in transactions with these eight individuals, three entities, and the entire DTO, and also freezes any assets they may have under U.S. jurisdiction.
The Meza Flores DTO operates out of Guasave, Sinaloa, Mexico and since 2000, has been responsible for the distribution of large quantities of methamphetamine, heroin, marijuana, and cocaine to the United States. The Meza Flores DTO is one of the primary rivals to the Sinaloa Cartel in the Mexican state of Sinaloa. As a result of this rivalry, the Meza Flores DTO has engaged in an extremely violent turf war with the Sinaloa Cartel which has resulted in the quadrupling of drug-war killings in the last four years and an increase in kidnappings and arson within the state of Sinaloa.
“By targeting the leaders of this extremely violent Sinaloa-based drug trafficking organization we are protecting the U.S. financial system from yet another source of illicit money tied to the narcotics trade,” said OFAC Director Adam J. Szubin. “OFAC will continue to target this organization as well as other Mexican drug trafficking operations that are threatening the United States.”
OFAC is designating Fausto Isidro Meza Flores (also known as “Chapito Isidro”), the leader of the Meza Flores DTO for his role in the narcotics trafficking activities of the organization and for playing a significant role in international narcotics trafficking.
Fausto Isidro Meza Flores’ wife, Araceli Chan Inzuna; his father, Fausto Isidro Meza Angulo; mother, Angelina Flores Apodaca; sister, Flor Angely Meza Flores; and uncles, Agustin Flores Apodaca, Salome Flores Apodaca, and Panfilo Flores Apodaca were also designated for acting on behalf of Fausto Isidro Meza Flores and the Meza Flores DTO.
In July 2012, Agustin Flores Apodaca, was arrested in Mexico for distribution of narcotics and he remains in Mexican custody. Finally, three companies located in Guasave, Sinaloa, that are owned by and acting on behalf of the Meza Flores DTO; a grain transportation company, Autotransportes Terrestres S.A. DE C.V.; a gas and service station, Auto Servicio Jatziry S.A. DE C.V.; and a construction company, Constructora Jatziry De Guasave S.A. DE C.V., were also designated.
This action would not have been possible without the support of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Joint Field Command Arizona, and U.S. State Department Bureau of Diplomatic Security.
Internationally, OFAC has designated more than 1,200 businesses and individuals linked to 97 drug kingpins since June 2000. 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.