HomeNewsBriefUS Sanctions for Mexico Heroin Traffickers Marks Shifting Priorities
BRIEF

US Sanctions for Mexico Heroin Traffickers Marks Shifting Priorities

HEROIN / 15 APR 2016 BY MIKE LASUSA EN

The US government has sanctioned the alleged leaders of a Mexico-based heroin trafficking ring in another indication of a new emphasis on disrupting the flow of the Mexican heroin that is fueling an epidemic in opioid abuse in the United States.   

On April 14, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced sanctions against Job, Ismael, and Ruben Laredo Donjuan, three brothers who allegedly run the Laredo drug trafficking organization.

Sanctions were also levied against Job’s wife, Mercedes Barrios Hernandez, and Ismael’s wife, Daniela Gomez Velazquez, as well as Antonio Marcelo Barragan, who allegedly served as a supplier of raw opium for the Laredo organization, and Ismael Reyna Felix, who is accused of handling illicit funds. OFAC named a fifth individual, Andres Laredo Estrada, but did not clarify his alleged role in the organization. (See the OFAC graphic below)

16-04-15-Mexico-Laredo

According to a federal indictment that accuses the Laredo network of importing approximately 1 ton of heroin into the United States, the group began manufacturing heroin in Mexico and smuggling it into the United States around 2008. The network used the Chicago area as a hub for distributing bulk shipments of heroin to street-level dealers across the northeastern United States.

The indictment also accuses the Laredo organization of using a variety of money laundering techniques such as funnel accounts, wire transfers, and Western Union money grams to launder at least $5 million of its heroin proceeds.

Furthermore, the indictment claims that the Laredo brothers and members of their organization used violence and threats of violence -- including murder, assault, kidnapping and arson -- to protect their operation.

A spokesperson from the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, which is handling the prosecution, told InSight Crime that all of the individuals named in the indictment are in custody with the exception of Job, Ismael and their spouses and the alleged opium supplier Barragan.

InSight Crime Analysis

The details of the Laredo operation underscore a trend previously reported by InSight Crime; Mexican heroin trafficking organizations are increasingly competing with traditionally dominant Colombian groups for heroin markets in the eastern United States. 

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Heroin

The sanctions against the Laredo organization come as US anti-drugs authorities continue to express alarm over rising rates of heroin abuse in the United States and are the latest sign that heroin trafficking is a growing priority for US government agencies. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), heroin has replaced methamphetamine as the drug of greatest concern for law enforcement due to its increasing availability around the country and a spike in deaths attributable to heroin overdoses (pdf). In addition, the White House recently described opioid abuse in the United States as an “epidemic” and proposed more than $1 billion in new funding to address the issue.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

MEXICO / 31 AUG 2012

A Mexican congressman recently asserted that under president-elect Enrique Peña Nieto, the military will remain on Mexico's streets until at…

MEXICO / 23 FEB 2016

A new study discusses the social factors that influence crime rates in Mexico City's most violent neighborhoods, an approach that…

FENTANYL / 21 JAN 2022

Chinese companies are turning to online sales to supply the fentanyl precursor market in Mexico. As a result, more criminal…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Who Are Memo Fantasma and Sergio Roberto de Carvalho?

24 JUN 2022

Inside the criminal career of Memo Fantasma  In March 2020, InSight Crime revealed the identity and whereabouts of Memo Fantasma, a paramilitary commander and drug trafficker living in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…