The United States has imposed sanctions against two sons of Sinaloa Cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman in the latest effort to clamp down on the drug cartel – but Mexican authorities claim that there are no investigations on the Guzman brothers.
The US Treasury Department announced on Tuesday that it would freeze any US assets held by Ivan Archivaldo Guzman Salazar or Ovidio Guzman Lopez and prohibit Americans from conducting business with them under the Foreign Narcotic Kingpin Designation Act.
Adam Szubin, director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control said that the US “will aggressively target those individuals who facilitate Chapo Guzman's drug trafficking operations, including family members.”
The US also blacklisted Noel Salgueiro Nevarez, alias “El Flaco,” and Ovidio Limon Sanchez, two other high-ranking Sinaloa figures who were detained in Mexico last year and remain in custody there.
InSight Crime Analysis
Following the recent indictment of El Chapo and his associate Ismael Zambada Garcia, alias "El Mayo," the sanctions brought against the sons of the most wanted man in Mexico are yet another effort by the US to put pressure on the powerful Sinaloa Cartel. But contrary to the US Treasury, authorities with Mexico’s Attorney General stated that there are no open organized crime investigations against the Guzman brothers in their country.
The Treasury Department noted that Ovidio Guzman has an important role in El Chapo’s drug trafficking business, and that his brother Ivan was arrested in Mexico in 2005 on money laundering charges, and later released. El Universal reports that Ivan Guzman Salazar had been accused for making large deposits in two bank accounts and acquiring a BMW, without proof that the money or vehicle were legally obtained.
However, Guzman Salazar was released when a magistrate claimed that the financial resources in question were indeed legal, and his relation to the Sinaloa head was inadequate reason to assume that he was involved in drug trafficking operations.
The overturning of the sentence could represent El Chapo’s influence in the country’s judicial system, but it is also possible that Ivan Guzman may simply be uninvolved in the cartel’s operations. Either way, while blacklisting the Sinaloa head’s family members does signal the US administration’s resolution to bring the organization down, it may not have the intended impact unless Ivan and Ovidio Guzman are actually investigated and charged by Mexican authorities, or the US requests their extradition.