US sanctions 3 'notoriously violent' Mexican cartel operatives

US sanctions 3 'notoriously violent' Mexican cartel operatives

Action targets 'key individuals responsible for facilitating the illicit trafficking of deadly drugs,' says Treasury Department

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) - The US sanctioned three "notoriously violent" Sinaloa cartel operatives Wednesday in a bid to further clamp down on the organization's illicit activities.

Brothers Alfonso Arzate Garcia and Rene Arzate Garcia, and Rafael Guadalupe Felix Nunez are accused of being involved in the trafficking of fentanyl and other drugs across the US border.

The Arzate Garcia brothers lead the cartel's operations in Tijuana and other nearby areas, and are "known to be extremely violent," the Treasury Department said in a statement. They carry out "enforcement operations," including kidnappings and executions, it added.

They were charged in a US court in 2014 with drug trafficking crimes and remain fugitives.

Felix Nunez began his career with the cartel as a hitman in 2008, and was arrested six years later by Mexican authorities. He escaped prison in 2017, and has gone on to become "a powerful and violent Sinaloa Cartel leader in the city of Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico," said the agency.

Manzanillo is a critical port city in Mexico for the cartel, and receives shipments of cocaine, and precursor chemical from Asia for fentanyl production, it added.

“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.

“Treasury remains committed to leveraging our tools in support of our whole-of-government effort to aggressively target all aspects of the supply chain and starve these criminal groups of the funding they need to operate," he added.

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