Three Mexican drug lords sanctioned by US officials after smuggling deadly fentanyl to America
- Alfonso Arzate, his brother, René Arzate and Rafael Félix were sanctioned on Wednesday
- The suspects are accused of exploiting territories in Tijuana and Manzanillo, the Treasury Department said
- The decision freezes any assets they may have in the United States and prohibits US citizens from conducting business with them.
Three high-ranking members of the Sinaloa Cartel were sanctioned by the US Treasury Department on Wednesday for trafficking drugs, including fentanyl, to America.
The suspects, Alfonso Arzate, his brother, Rene Arzate and Rafael Felix, all operate places for the transnational criminal organization co-founded by Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán.
The sanctions block any assets the three men may have in the United States. In addition, US citizens are prohibited from having relations with them.
The Arzate siblings, who remain at large, are believed to run the cartel’s operations in Tijuana and other nearby cities, importing narcotics, including the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl, into the United States.
Sinaloa cartel members Alfonso Arzate (left) and his brother Rene Arzate (right) were sanctioned by the US Treasury Department on Wednesday for allegedly smuggling drugs, including fentanyl, into the US .
The Arzate brothers, according to the US Treasury Department, are in charge of the Sinaloa Cartel’s place in Tijuana and other cities.
According to the Treasury Department, Alfonso Arzate and Rene Arzate also participated in kidnappings and murders for the notorious cartel.
The two men were charged separately with drug trafficking in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California in July 2014.
Felix, also known as “The Anthrax Monkey”, a nickname he took on as a hitman for Los Anthrax, a Sinaloa Cartel enforcement unit, took on a prominent role within of the organization after the 2013 arrest of gang leader Rodrigo “Chino”. Arechiga of Anthrax.
He was also charged with drug trafficking in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California in July 2014 and was arrested by Mexican authorities in November 2014.
However, Felix and other members of the Sinaloa Cartel escaped from a prison in Culiacán, Sinaloa in 2017 and remain at large.
Rafael Felix was a member of Los Anthrax, a team of Sinaloa cartel hitmen before rising through the organization’s leadership structure and becoming one of the cartel’s leaders in the Pacific coast state of Colima .
The Sinaloa cartel’s Colima plaza is currently run by Rafael Felix, who was sanctioned by the US Treasury Department on Wednesday
Since then, Felix has risen through the leadership ranks of the Sinaloa Cartel, becoming one of the leaders of the organization’s territory in Manzanillo, Colima, the Treasury Department said.
The city’s port is a strategic location for cartel operations as it receives cocaine from Colombia and precursor chemicals from Asia, needed to synthesize fentanyl.
Manzanillo also functions as a hub for narcotics heading into the United States.
The sanctions against the Arzate and Félix clan come less than a month after the Treasury Department sanctioned ten Mexican nationals, including El Chapo’s brother-in-law, for producing and trafficking fentanyl.
The Drug Enforcement Administration confiscated over 46 million fake fentanyl-containing pills in 2023
The suspects, including Noel López, the brother of El Chapo’s second wife, Griselda López, are believed to be linked to Los Chapitos, the jailed drug lord’s four sons, who control half of the cartel.
Drug Enforcement Administration figures show the agency confiscated more than 46 million fake fentanyl-containing pills and more than 6,900 pounds of fentanyl powder in 2023.
By comparison, the DEA has seized over 58.3 million fentanyl-containing pills and over 13,000 pounds of fentanyl powder.