The Main Stream

May 7, 2013 8:47 PM by Lorraine Rivera

Drug kingpins identified by Treasury Department

TUCSON - Eight drug kingpins are now on a list with the U.S. Treasury Department. The men are known operators for the Sinaloa drug cartel which controls the Arizona, Mexico border.

Tuesday's action generally prohibits U.S. persons from conducting financial or commercial transactions with these designees, and also freezes any assets they may have under U.S. jurisdiction.

Al Laurita, who leads the Drug Enforcement Administration in Southern Arizona said the men are identified as plaza bosses. A press released issued Tuesday stated, "Plaza bosses rely on violence to maintain their positions, using sicarios (hitmen) to control a specific geographic area. Since Arizona is contiguous with the U.S.-Mexico International Boundary, the Tucson and Phoenix metropolitan areas are major trans-shipment and distribution points for contraband smuggling out of and into Sonora, Mexico."

Laurita said they control all the smuggling operations through the Arizona, Sonora border region, "some of the greatest entrepreneurs in the world, right? The Sinaloa cartel makes as much money or more money and they do that for a reason, they're very good at what they do. They know how to make money and it's all about making money."

Laurita said the announcement means anyone who is found to be doing business with the kingpins faces heavy consequences, "if you're along the border or you're in Tucson and you're aware that you are doing business with one of these folks then you're subject to investigation and ultimately prosecution."

He said violators could have their assets frozen, be fined up to $1 million per incident, and face 30 year federal prison sentences.

But Terry Kirkpatrick, a retired federal agent who wrote the book titled Sixty Miles of Border questions whether or not freezing assets will happen, "the Treasury Department has had a freeze on all of Chapo Guzman's assets for probably the last 6 to 8 years, obviously it hasn't done any good because he is still one of Forbes most richest men in the world."

He said cartels manage their monies in ways it cannot be traced, "their banking system is briefcases, paper sacks, tote bags, a trunk of a vehicle. They just go in and take however millions of dollars they want."

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