Treasury Designates Family Members and Accomplices of Los Zetas

By Dialogo
August 06, 2013

On August 5. the U.S. Department of the Treasury sanctioned Jesus Fernandez de Luna and his cattle sales company Compañía Ganadera 5 Manantiales under the Specialy Designated Nationals List. Mexican national Jesus Fernandez de Luna engages in drug trafficking activities for the violent drug cartel Los Zetas, the recently-arrested Miguel Treviño Morales, and his brother Omar Treviño Morales.

Los Zetas leaders Miguel and Omar Treviño Morales have used proceeds from their involvement in the narcotics trade to purchase American quarter horses, and launder the money through Jesus Fernandez de Luna and his cattle business.

Mexican authorities arrested Miguel Treviño Morales on July 15, 2013.

This action, pursuant to the Kingpin Act, generally prohibits U.S. persons from engaging in any transactions with these designees and freezes any assets they may have under U.S. jurisdiction.

Omar Treviño Morales established Compañía Ganadera 5 Manantiales as a money laundering front for his wife, Carolina Fernandez Gonzalez, and her father, Jesus Fernandez de Luna. Shareholders include Jesus Fernandez de Luna and his wife, Esperanza Maria Gonzalez Muniz, and its principal officers, shareholders, and original incorporators include Jesus Fernandez de Luna, his brother, Gerardo Fernandez de Luna, and his brother-in-law, Emilio Guillermo Gonzalez Muniz.

Jesus Fernandez de Luna is wanted in the Western District of Texas (Austin Division) for conspiring to conceal or disguise drug proceeds for Miguel and Omar Treviño Morales. In September 2012, Jesus Fernandez de Luna purchased four valuable racehorses for Miguel and Omar Treviño Morales through Compañía Ganadera 5 Manantiales. The U.S. Government seized and sold these horses at auction.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury also sanctioned three individuals and three entities linked to Ismael Zambada Garcia, one of the principal leaders of the Sinaloa Cartel. They include Jose Antonio Nuñez Bedoya, a Mexican attorney and notary public who helps to create front companies in order to conceal and launder assets on behalf of Zambada Garcia, members of Zambada Garcia’s family, and other members of the Sinaloa Cartel.

Nuñez Bedoya incorporated Estancia Infantil Niño Feliz and Establo Puerto Rico on behalf of Zambada Garcia, and he notarized real estate purchases on behalf of Santa Monica Dairy, all of which were previously sanctioned by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in May 2007. Additionally, Nuñez Bedoya notarized real estate purchases on behalf of Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquin Guzman Loera and his wife, Griselda Lopez Perez, whom OFAC sanctioned in September 2012.

“Treasury will continue to target and disrupt financial operations linked to the Sinaloa Cartel by taking action against any facilitators, legal or financial professionals, or businesses that are laundering their narcotics proceeds,” said OFAC Director Adam J. Szubin.

The cash-intensive businesses sanctioned by OFAC on August 5 were Parque Acuatico Los Cascabeles, a Sinaloa-based water park, Centro Comercial y Habitacional Lomas, a shopping mall in Culiacan, and Rancho Agricola Ganadero Los Mezquites, a cattle ranch in Sinaloa. Nuñez Bedoya incorporated and notarized all three businesses on behalf of Zambada Garcia.

Also included under the sanctions were Tomasa Garcia Rios and Monica Janeth Verdugo Garcia, wife and daughter of deceased narcotics trafficker Jose Lamberto Verdugo Calderon. Verdugo Calderon, who was killed by the Mexican military in January 2009, was widely identified by U.S. and Mexican authorities as a major financial operative and lieutenant for Zambada Garcia. Tomasa Garcia Rios and Monica Janeth Verdugo Garcia own Rancho Agricola Ganadero Los Mezquites and Parque Acuatico Los Cascabeles.

Sanctioning these individuals and entities would not have been possible without critical support from the Drug Enforcement Administration.