Sanctions on ephedrine smugglers announced

Nov. 27, 2012 at 4:53 PM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced sanctions on the finances of Mexico's Ibarra Cardona drug-trafficking organization.

The sanctions, intended to disrupt the group and freeze assets of U.S. citizens connected to it, were announced Monday.

Luis Gerardo Ibarra Cardona, who turns 30 Wednesday, was designated under the government's Kingpin Act as leader of smugglers of ephedrine, the key ingredient in the manufacture of methamphetamine, into Mexico through the United States, and suppliers of the chemical to the infamous Sinaloa Cartel of drug traffickers.

An Oregon businessman allegedly imported much of the chemical from India, marked as "green tea extract" during importation. The ephedrine then allegedly was sent to a customs broker in San Diego, who allegedly sold it to the Cardona group, The (Portland) Oregonian reported Tuesday.

"They [the Cardona group] were in turn supplying the Sinaloa Cartel with that ephedrine. This is the first I've known of an Oregon investigation resulting in that kind of sanction for any group," said John F. Delts, head of the drug unit of the U.S. Attorney's Office for Oregon.

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