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Treasury Dept sanctions four members of Tijuana cell of the Sinaloa Cartel including nephew of El Mayo Zambada

September 24, 2016  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Treasury Dept sanctions four members of Tijuana cell of the Sinaloa Cartel including nephew of El Mayo Zambada Alfonso Lira Sotelo (Left), Eliseo Imperial Castro (Middle) and Javier Lira Sotelo (Right)

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The United States Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated four suspected members of a Tijuana cell of the Sinaloa drug cartel as narcotics traffickers tied to the group’s jailed leader, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman and his longtime partner Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada.

In a statement, Treasury Department officials said Friday’s actions also involved the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California, Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Mexican government.

The OFAC designated the four Mexican nationals identified as Alfonso Lira Sotelo, Javier Lira Sotelo, Alma Delia Lira Sotelo and Eliseo Imperial Castro aka “El Cheyo Antrax” who is the nephew of Zambada,  under The Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, also referred to as the Kingpin Act.

The four men stand accused of narcotics trafficking and money laundering as part of a Tijuana cell in support of the Sinaloa Federation Cartel, a transnational criminal organization.

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Additionally, officials said authorities in the U.S. and Mexico have identified Castro as a reputed high-ranking member of Los Antrax, a ruthless paramilitary enforcement group for the cartel loyal to his uncle ‘El Mayo’ Zambada.

“As a result of today’s action, all assets of those designated that are within U.S. jurisdiction or in control of U.S. persons are frozen. The actions also prohibit U.S. persons from engaging in transactions with these individuals,” OFAC Acting Director John E. Smith said.

According to the statement, Federal prosecutors in California have charged Castro and Sotelo with numerous drug trafficking offenses involving cocaine, marijuana, and methamphetamine. Additionally, both men also stand accused of money laundering.

“Alfonso Lira Sotelo and Eliseo Imperial Castro’s narcotics trafficking and money laundering activities serve to expand the Sinaloa Cartel’s influence into California,” Smith said.

“In conjunction with the Government of Mexico, OFAC will continue to aggressively target narcotics traffickers, the laundering of their illicit proceeds, and those who participate in advancing their criminal activities,” he added.

Guzman, who was captured earlier this year after spending years eluding capture, is awaiting extradition to the United States, where he faces criminal indictments in several U.S. jurisdictions.

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