US sanctions Mexican international cartel lieutenant
MEXICO CITY (AP) — The U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions Monday on an international operator for the Sinaloa drug cartel whose activities span the globe.
The Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control blocked any U.S. properties of José Angel Rivera Zazueta and two other men.
The department said Rivera Zazueta’s network "operates on a global scale with nodes in the United States, Mexico, South and Central America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia.”
“Rivera Zazueta imports precursor chemicals from China to Mexico, which are then used to manufacture synthetic drugs,” including the deadly opioid fentanyl and crystal methamphetamine.
It said he worked with a Chinese chemical transportation company, Shanghai Fast-Fine Chemicals, “which has shipped various, often falsely labeled precursor chemicals to Drug Trafficking Organizations in Mexico for illicit fentanyl production intended for U.S. markets.”
Over 70,000 Americans died of overdoses involving opioids in 2020, mainly fentanyl.
Mexican cartels often press the drug into pills that mimic legitimate medications, making it all that much more deadly, because many victims do not know they are taking fentanyl.
The department said Rivera Zazueta also has moved “large quantities of cocaine from Colombia to the United States, Spain, Italy, Guatemala, Mexico, and other countries in Europe and Central America.”
Also designated for sanctions Monday were his Mexican associate, Nelton Santiso Aguila, and Guatemalan national Jason Antonio Yang Lopez.