U.S. freezes assets linked to Mexican drug gang

Doug Palmer (Reuters)
Dec 3, 2009
* Action targets Mexico’s Beltran Leyva Organization
* US says violent gang smuggles cocaine and heroin

WASHINGTON – The United States has frozen the U.S.-based assets of 22 individuals and 10 companies linked to one of Mexico’s most ruthless drug gangs, the U.S. Treasury Department said on Thursday.

“The Beltran Leyva Organization is responsible for acts of terrible violence in the pursuit of money,” Adam Szubin, director of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control, said in a statement.

“Today’s action aims to disrupt their ill-gotten gains, targeting a wide network of commercial entities used to move, launder and conceal proceeds of their crimes,” Szubin said.

U.S. authorities accuse the gang of smuggling cocaine from Central and South America and heroin from Mexico into the United States and say it is responsible for countless murders of Mexican counternarcotics forces.

Former U.S. President George W. Bush formally designated Marcos Arturo Beltran Leyva and his organization as “kingpins” in 2008 under U.S. narcotics law.

Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control did not identify the 22 individuals and 10 companies it designated on Thursday.

But it said the Beltran Leyva Organization and its associates controlled companies involved in air and vehicle shipping, electronics retailing, health products trade, business consulting and hospitality services.

The companies are located throughout Mexico in the states of Chihuahua, Sinaloa, Chiapas, Sonora, Jalisco, Estado de Mexico, Baja California Norte and the Distrito Federal. The action also bars U.S. persons from doing business with the designated people and companies.

(doug.palmer@thomsonreuters.com; +1 202 898 8341; Reuters Messaging: doug.palmer.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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