U.S. Lays Sanctions Against Numerous Drug Traffickers

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NEWS AMERICAS, WASHINGTON, D.C., Thurs. Feb. 24, 2011: The U.S. has laid financial sanctions against more than 70 alleged drug traffickers.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control says all of the accused are linked to Mexico’s notorious Sinaloa drug cartel and dubbed them as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers.

Cifuentes Villa, a native Colombian who also holds Mexican citizenship, allegedly leads a drug trafficking organization with operations in Colombia, Mexico, Ecuador, Panama and Spain that is closely allied with the Sinaloa Cartel headed by Mexican national Joaquin Guzman Loera (El Chapo), the Department said.

Guzman Loera and the Sinaloa Cartel were identified by the President as Significant Foreign Narcotics Traffickers pursuant to the Kingpin Act in 2001 and 2009, respectively. In November 2010, Cifuentes Villa and Guzman Loera were indicted on drug trafficking and money laundering charges in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Alfredo Alvarez Zepeda (a.k.a. Gabino Ontiveros Rios), who acts as a drug trafficking liaison between the Cifuentes Villa organization and Guzman Loera, and key criminal associates who provide material support to Cifuentes Villa’s drug trafficking activities, Jaime Alberto Roll Cifuentes, Winston Nicholls Eastman, David Gomez Ortiz, and Shimon Yelinek were also designated today.

Juan Pablo Antonio Londono Ramirez, a business partner of Cifuentes Villa, is among the other individuals designated today. Londono Ramirez owns stored value card company Monedeux with locations in Colombia, Mexico, Panama, Spain, and the United States.

Multiple family members of Cifuentes Villa were also designated today for materially supporting his drug trafficking activities and/or for helping to manage his companies. Two of today’s designees, Dolly de Jesus Cifuentes Villa and Hildebrando Alexander Cifuentes Villa, are also charged with drug trafficking and money laundering in the Southern District of Florida in the same indictment as Jorge Milton Cifuentes Villa and Guzman Loera.

Cifuentes Villa owns or controls 15 companies operating in Colombia, Mexico, and Ecuador that are involved in a variety of economic sectors, ranging from Linea Aerea Pueblos Amazonicos S.A.S., a recently-created airline operating in eastern Colombia, to Red Mundial Inmobiliaria, S.A. de C.V., a real estate company located near Mexico City, to Gestores del Ecuador Gestorum S.A., a consulting company located in Quito, Ecuador.
The move also bars U.S. persons from financial dealings with alleged drug kingpin Jorge Cifuentes Villa and individuals and entities in six countries and freezes any assets the designees may have under U.S. jurisdiction.

“Targeting the corporate empires of narcotics traffickers is at the core of our efforts to degrade these dangerous organizations,” said OFAC director Adam Szubin. “By designating Cifuentes Villa and his extensive network – operating across a variety of economic sectors in six countries – OFAC is denying him the opportunity to profit from these entities or use them to launder the proceeds from his narcotics trafficking activities. Going forward, Cifuentes Villa will no longer be able to masquerade as a legitimate businessman while supplying cocaine to the Sinaloa Cartel.”

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