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US Slaps Sanctions on Mexican Businesses, Individuals for Drug Activities

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

The U.S. Treasury imposed sanctions on 15 Mexican businesses and six individuals Wednesday for their support of a major drug cartel.

"The Los Cunis drug trafficking organization is one of the most powerful and violent drug cartels in Mexico," said John E. Smith, the acting chief of the Treasury's foreign assets control.

"Today's designation marks the first step in dismantling its significant business network. These businesses and individuals will no longer be able to operate under the veil of legitimacy," Smith said.

Wednesday's move freezes any assets the targeted entities and individuals may have in the United States, and U.S. persons are barred from doing business with them.

The businesses include two real estate firms, two shopping centers, and an exclusive luxury hotel in Tomaltan in Jalisco state.

Six individual Mexicans with ties to the Los Cunis cartel also were sanctioned.

Los Cunis leader Abigael Gonzalez Valencia was captured in Mexico in February. But another cartel chief, his brother-in-law Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, is still at large.