The Treasury Department Wednesday froze the U.S. assets of the suspected leader of a Guadalajara-based drug organization, 21 of his alleged criminal associates and 42 affiliated businesses, designating them as Significant Foreign Narcotics traffickers under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act.
A federal grand jury in San Diego indicted 64-year-old Raul Flores Hernandez in March.
The indictment — unsealed last month — resulted from an extensive investigation into the Flores Hernandez organization conducted jointly by the Drug Enforcement Administration in San Diego, Homeland Security Investigations in San Diego and the DEA country office in Guadalajara, Mexico.
In support of the Kingpin Act designation, the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control allegd that Flores Hernandez “has trafficked significant quantities of drugs, primarily cocaine, to the United States and has been engaged in these activities since the late 1970s.”
The action marks the largest single Kingpin Act action against a Mexican drug cartel network that OFAC has designated, officials said.
OFAC emphasized Flores Hernandez’s cooperative relationship with the Sinaloa Cartel and the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion, which led to him amassing “great wealth, which he has invested into an extensive network of businesses and real estate located primarily in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.”
The government of Mexico’s Procuraduria General de la Republica seized diverse assets belonging to Flores Hernandez and his drug trafficking organization, including the Grand Casino in the Guadalajara area, authorities said.
“Raul Flores Hernandez has operated for decades because of his longstanding relationships with other drug cartels and his use of financial front persons to mask his investments of illegal drug proceeds,” said OFAC Director John E. Smith.
“This major joint action reflects the U.S. government’s close cooperation with our law enforcement partners in Mexico to stop the illegal flow of narcotics and to target and expose drug kingpins and those who facilitate their illicit financial networks.”
— City News Service