The Treasury Department on Thursday added to the Kingpin list, three brothers who they accuse of operating a heroin cartel that contributed to the current epidemic in the United States.
WASHINGTON – Today, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated brothers Job, Ismael, and Ruben Laredo Donjuan, as well as the Laredo Drug Trafficking Organization (Laredo DTO), as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act). OFAC also designated five other Mexican nationals for their criminal activities in support or on behalf of the Laredo Drug Trafficking Organization or its leadership. As a result of today’s action, all assets of those designated that are based in the United States or in the control of U.S. persons are frozen, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.
"The Laredo Drug Trafficking Organization is responsible for contributing to the drug epidemic and troubling rise of heroin abuse in this country,” said John E. Smith, OFAC Acting Director. "Treasury is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to dismantle criminal organizations that facilitate the flow of illicit drugs into the United States.”
Since 2008, the Laredo DTO has been involved in the manufacture, importation, and distribution of heroin from Mexico to the United States, as well as the laundering of drug proceeds from the United States to Mexico. The Mexico-based DTO is led by brothers Job and Ismael Laredo Donjuan, who were charged in a federal indictment last year brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Specifically, Job and Ismael Laredo Donjuan were charged with being the principal leaders of a Continuing Criminal Enterprise, among additional federal charges related to drug trafficking and money laundering. The indictment also charges their respective wives, Mercedes Barrios Hernandez and Daniela Gomez Velazquez, with multiple charges related to money laundering, along with Antonio Marcelo Barragan, with a drug trafficking charge. Additional Laredo DTO members designated today include Ruben Laredo Donjuan, Andres Laredo Estrada, and Ismael Reyna Felix.
Today’s action was taken in coordination with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Philadelphia Field Division and Mexico Country Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Philadelphia Division, and the Mexican Comisión Nacional de Seguridad - Policía Federal. This designation is part of a larger effort, in collaboration with the Government of Mexico, to use financial sanctions aggressively to disrupt Mexican drug trafficking organizations.
Since June 2000, more than 1,800 entities and individuals have been named pursuant to the Kingpin Act for their role in international narcotics trafficking. 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.