WASHINGTON.- The U.S. Department of the Treasury today announced the designation of Filemon Garcia Ayala, and two of his companies located in Mexico pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act) for their links to Los Zetas, the violent Mexican drug cartel.
In addition to the entities located in Mexico, Treasury is also identifying three U.S. companies affiliated with Filemon Garcia Ayala as blocked property pursuant to the Kingpin Act.
Today's action 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.
Filemon Garcia Ayala is a Mexican national who leads a money laundering network that makes large international transfers on behalf of Los Zetas.
In June 2012, Mexican authorities sought to arrest Garcia Ayala on money laundering charges, but he fled and remains a fugitive.
"By exposing another key money operation tied to Los Zetas, Treasury is depriving the Zetas of an important avenue to launder their narco-dollars," said Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control Director Adam J. Szubin.
"We will continue to target individuals and businesses linked to Los Zetas and take any action necessary to protect the U.S. financial system from their illicit financial dealings."
Treasury is designating two of Filemon Garcia Ayala's companies located in Mexico, Prodira Casa de Cambio S.A. de C.V. and Trastreva S.A. de C.V., both located in Zacatecas, Mexico. OFAC is also identifying the following U.S. companies as blocked property due to Filemon Garcia Ayala's interest in them: Prodira S.A. de C.V., incorporated in Texas; Prodira, Inc., which is currently incorporated in Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, and Texas; and Internacional & Nacional Exchange Services Inc., which is incorporated in Texas.
The President identified Los Zetas as a significant foreign narcotics trafficker pursuant to the Kingpin Act in April 2009.
On July 24, 2011, the President identified Los Zetas as a significant Transnational Criminal Organization in the Annex to Executive Order 13581 (Blocking Property of Transnational Criminal Organizations).
Today's action is part of ongoing efforts pursuant to the Kingpin Act to apply financial measures against significant foreign narcotics traffickers and their organizations worldwide.
The Treasury Department has designated more than 1,200 individuals and entities pursuant to the Kingpin Act since June 2000.
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 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.