They are among the top drug traffickers, assassins and money launderers for the Gulf Cartel and their former enforcement wing the Zetas.
But as of Wednesday, they have become outcasts in the international finance community.
The U.S. Treasury Department named 54 principal lieutenants and enforcers of the once aligned drug trafficking organizations to its Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers list
The designation — established under the 1999 Kingpin Act — makes it illegal for U.S. citizens to conduct commercial transactions with anyone named to its ranks and freezes all of their assets within the United States.
“The Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas have terrorized innocent people in Tamaulipas and throughout Mexico,” said Adam Szubin, director of the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, in a statement. “Today’s action amplifies Treasury’s ongoing efforts to target the support networks of drug organizations worldwide and deny these criminals access to the international financial sector.”
Many of those named to the list Wednesday — mostly from the Mexican states of Tamaulipas and Nuevo León — are already in custody in Mexico, while several more face federal indictment in the United States.
- Jaime “El Hummer” González Durán, a Zeta who controlled the Reynosa drug trafficking plaza before his arrest there in 2008.
- Samuel “Metro Tres” Flores Borrego, a Gulf Cartel operative believed to have been in charge of Reynosa and Miguel Alemán.
- Aurelio “Yankee” Cano Flores, who oversaw drug trafficking for both organizations in Camargo until his arrest in Mexico in June.
- Dimas “El Guerro” González Rodriguez, the primary Mexican contact to a Rio Grande Valley drug trafficking organization led by a Palmview auto parts dealer.
The court filings described a loose alliance in which both groups shared territory in the cities across from the Rio Grande Valley.
In recent months, however, that arrangement has frayed. Last month, tensions between the two groups led to a series of gun battles in cities stretching from Matamoros to Nuevo Laredo.
Amid concern on both sides of the border about this new flare-up of violence, several top members of President Barack Obama’s Cabinet met Tuesday with their Mexican counterparts, pledging to continue ongoing efforts against the cartels.
“The United States remains deeply committed to collaborating with Mexican authorities and President (Felipe) Calderón’s unwavering efforts to end the brutality imposed by these ruthless criminal organizations,” Szubin said.