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US Sanctions Mexican Businessman, Newspaper Over Drug Links

FILE - U.S. Customs and Border Protection displays an intercepted shipment of drugs that was brought into the U.S. from Mexico, near Yuma, Arizona.

The U.S. Treasury Department said on Wednesday it had sanctioned Mexican businessman Naim Libien Tella and his Unomasuno newspaper, freezing their U.S. assets over suspicion that they had abetted a major drug gang.

"Naim Libien Tella provides support to the narcotics trafficking activities of the Los Cuinis Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO) and its leader, Abigael Gonzalez Valencia, both of which were designated earlier this year," the Treasury Department said in a statement.

The Treasury Department did not specify the value of the assets being frozen or provide details of how Libien Tella was aiding the gang. It added that Unomasuno is owned or controlled by Gonzalez Valencia "and/or" Libien Tella.

The Diario Amanecer newspaper, based in the city of Toluca, and Aerolineas Amanecer, an air taxi firm, were also designated as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers. Both are either owned or controlled by Libien Tella, the U.S. Treasury said.

Libien Tella was not immediately available for comment, according to a spokeswoman at his office.

Gonzalez Valencia was arrested in Mexico earlier this year.

The Los Cuinis drug gang is a close ally of the powerful Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG). Gonzalez Valencia is the brother-in-law of Nemesio Oseguera, the leader of the CJNG.