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U.S. sanctions 3 Sinola Cartel members for fentanyl trafficking

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The U.S. sanctioned three high-ranking members of the Sinaloa Cartel on Wednesday for involvement in illicit fentanyl trafficking.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated Baja California, Mexico-based Sinaloa Cartel “plaza bosses” Alfonso Arzate Garcia and his brother, Rene Arzate Garcia. The Office of Foreign Assets Control said they manage the cartel’s drug trafficking operations in Tijuana and send large quantities of illicit drugs, including fentanyl, into the United States. OFAC also designated Rafael Guadalupe Felix Nuñez, a former cartel hitman who escaped from a Mexican prison and serves as a Sinaloa Cartel leader in Manzanillo in Colima, Mexico.

As a result of the designation, all property and interests of the three men that are in the U.S. must be blocked and reported to the Office of Foreign Assets Control. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50% or more by one or more blocked persons also are blocked, according to the agency.

“Today’s action targets key individuals responsible for facilitating the illicit trafficking of deadly drugs, including fentanyl, into the United States, where it wreaks havoc on our communities,” Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said in a statement.

In separate indictments in 2014, Alfonso Arzate Garcia and Rene Arzate Garcia were charged with drug trafficking in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. Both the brothers remain fugitives.

U.S. prosecutors also indicted Felix Nuñez in 2014. Mexican officials arrested him in November 2014. In 2017, Felix Nuñez escaped from a prison in Culiacan, Sinaloa, with several other Sinaloa Cartel members. He also remains a fugitive.

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