FROM: TREASURY DEPARTMENT
First Designation Targeting Caro Quintero’s Network since his Release from Prison
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury today designated 20 entities and one individual linked to Rafael Caro Quintero, a major Mexican narcotics trafficker and fugitive from U.S. justice for his role in the murder of an agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Caro Quintero was identified as a significant foreign narcotics trafficker pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act) in 2000. Each entity designated today is owned or controlled by one or more individuals previously designated because they act on behalf of Caro Quintero.
“Today’s designation demonstrates the enormous extent to which Rafael Caro Quintero and his family members have infiltrated the economy in Guadalajara, Mexico, including the real estate and gasoline retail sectors,” said Treasury’s Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Adam J. Szubin. “With Caro Quintero on the run, OFAC will continue to work with the DEA and our Mexican counterparts to expand the sanctions against any person or entity that acts on behalf of this murderous criminal.”
Caro Quintero began his criminal career in the late 1970s when he co-founded the Guadalajara drug cartel and amassed an illicit fortune. Caro Quintero was the mastermind behind the kidnapping and murder of DEA Special Agent (SA) Enrique Camarena in 1985. Following his capture in the same year, Caro Quintero was convicted in Mexico for his involvement in SA Camarena’s murder and received a 40-year prison sentence. However, on August 9, 2013, Caro Quintero was released from a Mexican prison with 12 years remaining on his sentence.
“We are reminded every day of the ultimate sacrifice paid by Special Agent Enrique Camarena and DEA will vigorously continue its efforts to ensure Caro Quintero faces justice in the United States for the crimes he committed,” said DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart. “Caro Quintero and his organization can no longer hide behind front companies with their drug trafficking profits. These illegal enterprises fuel the drug trade and its violence and corruption. DEA and our partners at Treasury and elsewhere in government will pursue any and all means available to ensure that Caro Quintero is brought to justice and his criminal network is destroyed.”
While in prison, Caro Quintero continued his alliance with Mexican drug trafficking organizations and used a network of family members and front persons to invest his illicit fortune into ostensibly legitimate companies and real estate projects in the Mexican city of Guadalajara. OFAC designated 18 of these individuals, including six of Caro Quintero’s family members, and 15 entities on June 12, 2013.
Caro Quintero is wanted in the Central District of California on criminal charges related to the kidnapping and murder of SA Camarena as well as drug trafficking. The U.S. government, led by DEA, is seeking Caro Quintero’s capture and extradition to face these charges.
Today’s action, which designated 20 entities and one individual linked to Rafael Caro Quintero pursuant to the Kingpin Act, generally prohibits U.S. persons from conducting financial or commercial transactions with these designees, and also freezes any assets they may have under U.S. jurisdiction.
This action targeted 20 companies primarily located in or near Guadalajara. Several of these companies are engaged in real estate activities, including Arrendadora Turin, Barsat, and Villas del Colli. Others are gasoline retailers or engaged in agricultural activities, including Petro London, Servicio y Operadora Santa Ana, and Minerales Nueva Era, which produces and sells an organic fertilizer known as Diatomag as well as an organic pesticide known as Diatomkill.
Also designated today is Juan Carlos Soto Ruiz, a Guadalajaran native who plays a key management role in six of the companies designated today, including Arrendadora Turin and Servicio y Operadora Santa Ana, as well as three of the companies designated on June 12, 2013, including Pronto Shoes (a.k.a. CX-Shoes).
Since June 2000, the President has identified 103 drug kingpins, and OFAC has designated more than 1,300 businesses and individuals, pursuant to the Kingpin Act. Penalties for violations of the Kingpin Act range from civil penalties of up to $1.075 million per violation, to more severe criminal penalties. Criminal penalties for corporate officers may include up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $5 million. Criminal fines for corporations may reach $10 million. Other individuals could face up to 10 years in prison and fines pursuant to Title 18 of the United States Code for criminal violations of the Kingpin Act.