Treasury adds to drug kingpin designees

Oct. 22, 2009 at 4:03 PM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- The U.S. Treasury Department said it listed Mexican nationals and a Mexican company as specially designated narcotics traffickers for ties to a drug cartel.

The designation of Mexican national Edgardo Leyva Escandon, five members of his financial networkn and maritime equipment supplier Tienda Marina Abaroa, freezes any assets the designees have under U.S. jurisdiction and bars any U.S. person from conducting business with them, the Treasury Department said Thursday in a release.

The people and the business are tied to the Arellano Felix Organization, also known as the Tijuana Cartel, the department's Office of Foreign Assets Control said. The Arellano Felix Organization was named a Tier I Kingpin in 2004 under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act.

"We are taking this action to disrupt Edgardo Leyva Escandon's ability to access weapons and financial conduits on behalf of the Arellano Felix Organization," OFAC Director Adam Szubin said. "We will do everything in our power to support the determined counter-narcotics efforts of the government of Mexico."

U.S. officials allege Leyva Escandon is the organization's primary ammunition and firearms supplier and an assassin. He is wanted by both the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives and the Drug Enforcement Administration, and is the subject of a $2 million reward under the State Department's Narcotics Rewards Program.

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