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US Sanctions Colombian Narco Leader, Members of Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel

MEXICO CITY, Sept 26 (Reuters) – The United States is sanctioning nine members of Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel and the leader of Colombia’s Clan del Golfo drug trafficking organization, the U.S. sanctions office OFAC said in a statement on Tuesday.

The individuals sanctioned include Colombian national Jobanis de Jesus Avila Villadiego, known as Chiquito Malo and believed to be the current leader of Clan del Golfo, which the U.S. State Department says is responsible for the bulk of cocaine production and trafficking in Colombia.

Avila Villadiego is accused of ordering a murder campaign targeting Colombian security forces last year after the announcement that a former Clan del Golfo leader would be extradited to the United States.

OFAC also sanctioned nine Mexico-based individuals it said were responsible for drug trafficking on behalf of the Sinaloa Cartel and its Los Chapitos wing.

These include alleged fentanyl traffickers Liborio Nunez Aguirre, Samuel Leon Alvarado and Carlos Mario Limon Vazquez, accused of operating a network of laboratories that synthesize precursor chemicals into fentanyl for distribution in the United States.

Brothers Leobardo and Martin Garcia Corrales were also accused of using proceeds from fentanyl sales to buy automatic rifles, grenades and other weapons, according to OFAC.

The U.S. office also sanctioned Jorge Humberto Figueroa Benitez, whom it accused of commanding a violent group of Los Chapitos sicarios, and Mario Alberto Jimenez Castro, accused of operating a money laundering organization using virtual currency and wire transfers.

It also sanctioned two alleged associates of Jimenez Castro; Julio Cesar Dominguez Hernandez whom it accused of importing and selling cocaine and methamphetamine in the United States, and Jesus Miguel Vibanco Garcia, accused of importing fentanyl.

The United States has been seeking increased cooperation from both Mexico and China in curbing the flow of fentanyl and its precursor chemicals, which have fueled a sharp rise in U.S. overdose deaths.

Source : reuters