Wednesday, June 12, 2013

U.S. Treasury Sanctions Mexican Drug Traffickers Tied To Murder Of DEA Special Agent Enrique 'Kiki' Camarena

The DEA released the below information today:

WASHINGTON – The DEA today announced that the U.S. Department of the Treasury designated 18 individuals and 15 entities linked to Rafael Caro Quintero, a Mexican drug trafficker.  Rafael Caro Quintero is a significant Mexican narcotics trafficker who began his criminal career in the late 1970s when he and others, including Juan Jose Esparragoza Moreno (a.k.a. “El Azul”), formed the Guadalajara drug cartel and amassed an illicit fortune.  Caro Quintero was the mastermind behind the kidnapping and murder of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent (SA) Enrique Camarena in 1985.  Following his capture in the same year, Caro Quintero was convicted in Mexico for his involvement in SA Camarena’s murder and drug trafficking and is currently serving a 40 year prison sentence there. 

Caro Quintero is also wanted in the Central District of California on criminal charges related to the kidnapping and murder of SA Camarena as well as drug trafficking.  Caro Quintero continues his alliance with Esparragoza Moreno’s organization and its key players, such as the previously-designated individual Juvencio Ignacio Gonzalez Parada.  The President identified Caro Quintero and Esparragoza Moreno as significant foreign narcotics traffickers pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act) in 2000 and 2003, respectively.

Today’s action, pursuant to the Kingpin Act, generally 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.

“Today's designation is another critical tool that helps us pursue hardened career criminals and keep them on the run, making it even more difficult to use the drug assets they have amassed,” said Gary Haff, Acting Chief of DEA's Financial Operations section. “No amount of effort can clean their dirty money, paid for with their violence and by their victims, including DEA Special Agent Kiki Camarena.  DEA is committed to seeing that justice is done, and we will not rest until they and their global criminal networks have been put out of business, their assets have been sized, and their freedom has been taken from them.”

“Rafael Caro Quintero has used a network of family members and front persons to invest his fortune into ostensibly legitimate companies and real estate projects in the city of Guadalajara” said Adam Szubin, Director of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).  “With the assistance of the Government of Mexico, OFAC continues to target drug traffickers, the laundering of their ill-gotten gains, and those who assist them in their illicit activities.”

Today’s action targets six of Rafael Caro Quintero’s family members, including his children -- Hector Rafael Caro Elenes, Roxana Elizabeth Caro Elenes, Henoch Emilio Caro Elenes, and Mario Yibran Caro Elenes-- his wife, Maria Elizabeth Elenes Lerma, and his daughter-in-law, Denisse Buenrostro Villa.  Humberto Vargas Correa, a longtime personal secretary of Caro Quintero, was also designated.  These individuals own and/or manage a variety of companies in Guadalajara, which were also designated today.  These companies include:  ECA Energeticos, S.A. de C.V., a gas station company; El Baño de Maria, S. de R.L. de C.V., a bath and beauty products store; Pronto Shoes, S.A. de C.V. (a.k.a. CX-Shoes), a shoe company; and Hacienda Las Limas, S.A. de C.V., a resort spa.

In addition, OFAC targeted members of the Sanchez Garza family, which is based in Guadalajara and involved in money laundering operations on behalf of Caro Quintero and also linked to Esparragoza Moreno.  Targets include the family patriarch, Jose de Jesus Sanchez Barba, along with his three sons, Mauricio Sanchez Garza, Jose de Jesus Sanchez Garza, and Diego Sanchez Garza.  Mauricio Sanchez Garza is currently a fugitive from money laundering charges in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio).  OFAC also designated the following additional Sanchez Garza family members today:  Beatriz Garza Rodriguez, wife of Jose de Jesus Sanchez Barba; Hilda Riebeling Cordero, wife of Mauricio Sanchez Garza; and Ernesto Sanchez Gonzalez and Ruben Sanchez Gonzalez, both cousins of the Sanchez Garza family.  In addition to Sanchez Garza family members, OFAC also designated the following individuals for acting on behalf of the Sanchez Garza family:  Michael Adib Madero; Diego Contreras Sanchez; and Luis Cortes Villasenor.  These designated individuals own and/or manage the following Guadalajara based companies, which were also designated today:  Grupo Fracsa, S.A. de C.V. and Dbardi, S.A. de C.V., real estate development companies; Grupo Constructor Segundo Milenio, S.A. de C.V., a construction company; Restaurant Bar Los Andariegos (a.k.a. Barbaresco Restaurant), a restaurant; and Piscilanea S.A. de C.V. (a.k.a. Albercas y Tinas Barcelona), a swimming pool company. 

Today’s action would not have been possible without the support of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Internationally, OFAC has designated more than 1,200 businesses and individuals linked to 103 drug kingpins 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 could 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.

Note: The above DOJ photo is of Kiki Camarena. The DOJ also offers the below profile of Kiki Camarena:

Kiki, a 37 year old United States DEA agent and father of three sons had been investigating a multi-billion-dollar drug operation which implicated officers of the Mexican army, police, and government. As he left his office on Thursday February 7, 1985, to meet his wife for lunch, five men grabbed him a he was walking down the street and forced him into a car. Kiki’s body was found one month later in a shallow grave, 70 miles from Michoacan, Mexico. He had been tortured, beaten and brutally murdered. Kiki gave his life in the fight against drugs and always held the belief that one person could make a difference.

Enrique Camarena never asked to be a hero. All he ever wanted was a chance to make a difference, a chance to somehow help others. But growing up in a poor barrio in Mexico, Kiki must have wondered if he would get those chances.

When Kiki was nine years old, his family moved to the United States. Kiki worked with the rest of his family in the fields. As he picked peaches and plums, Kiki watched other kids head for school and he often wondered what it would be like to have a seat on the bus or a seat in a real classroom.

Kiki finally got the chance to go to school and he became a good student. I high school, he played on the football and basketball teams. He worked on the yearbook. He was even voted Best All-Around Senior.

When Kiki graduated from high school he made a big decision. He saw that some of his friends were headed for trouble, and Kiki could have followed them. Instead, he worked his way through college and earned a degree in criminal justice.

Kiki served in the Marine Corps. Then he became a fireman and finally a policeman. And when he saw that many of his friends got into trouble because of drugs, he joined the DEA. The DEA’s mission to keep drugs from coming into this country weighed into his decision to join.

Kiki knew something had to be done to stop drugs and to help the people he cared about. His mother knew that his work could be very dangerous and she even tried to talk him out of it. “No,” he told her, “even if I’m only one person, I can make a difference.” His mother was right. Kiki’s work was often dangerous and it was lonely, too. Old friends turned against him. But Kiki kept on with his fight against drugs.

He was such a good agent that he was sent to work undercover in Mexico. For weeks, Kiki lived among the drug lords. He gathered information and evidence. Just when his work was almost finished, the drug dealers found out who he really was. They kidnapped him. They tortured him. And they killed him. After a month, his body was discovered and returned home to his family.

Kiki gave his life in the fight against drugs. He gave his life trying to help others. To honor Kiki, his family and friends wore red ribbons. As his story spread across the country, others began to wear ribbons too. Now every year millions of Americans celebrate Red Ribbon Week (October 23-31) to remember Kiki and to take a stand – just as he did – against illegal drugs. Kiki set an example for all of us. He showed us how one person can change things. And he became a hero. All Kiki wanted to do was make a difference. We hope somewhere, somehow, he can see what a difference he’s still making today. 

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