The US Treasury has added two alleged Zetas financial operatives to its Kingpin List as it ratchets up the pressure on Mexico's most feared organized crime group following the arrest of its maximum leader, Miguel Angel Treviño, alias "Z40."
The Treasury sanctioned Jose Odilon Ramirez Perales, who allegedly laundered tens of millions of dollars of drug trade profits smuggled from the United States to Mexico on the orders of Z40 and his brother and presumed successor, Alejandro, alias "Z42" or "Omar."
SEE ALSO: Z42 Profile
Ismael Lopez Guerrero, alias "Gilberto Godina Guerrero," was also added to the list for allegedly sending large quantities of smuggled cash to Ramirez after collecting the illicit funds from the Mexican city of Nuevo Laredo, along the US border. (See attached indictment below)
The move to place the men, who were both captured in Mexico last year, on the Kingpin List means all their US-based assets will be frozen -- with the Treasury stating they expect to seize approximately $20 million in goods and cash -- and US citizens are prohibited from engaging in business with them.
InSight Crime Analysis
The US government's real target with this announcement is likely Z42, who is thought to manage a good part of the financial side of the Zetas' operations from Nuevo Laredo and surroundings. Omar's ability to keep control of what is left of this now disparate criminal group may hinge on his ability to find some cash to pay off would-be government protectors, as well as internal and external rivals. The US is putting the squeeze on anything Zetas-related it can find.
The Zetas' financial operations have been in the sights of the US authorities since well before the capture of Treviño. Last year, nine alleged Zetas members were indicted in Texas on money laundering conspiracy charges, among them Eduardo Treviño, alias "Aldo," -- Treviño's uncle, who is now in a US jail cell for these activities.
With Z40's arrest, this process is now likely to speed up, as the US authorities act on whatever intelligence they can glean from both the Zetas kingpin and the two alleged money launderers that were arrested with him.