- The Washington Times - Friday, May 18, 2007

The Treasury Department yesterday designated six companies and a dozen persons in Mexico as fronts for Ismael Zambada Garcia, the leader of a Sinaloa-based drug trafficking organization named in May 2002 by President Bush as a “drug kingpin.”

“Zambada Garcia is one of Mexico’s most powerful drug kingpins and a fugitive from justice,” said Adam Szubin,director of the department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). “Today’s action further exposes the network of front companies and financial associates that Zambada Garcia uses to hide and launder his drug monies and cuts them off from the U.S. financial system.”

The designations included Nueva Industria de Ganaderos de Culiacan S.A. de C.V., a large, Sinaloa-based cattle and dairy company, and Mr. Zambada Garcia’s former wife, Rosario Niebla Cardoza, and their four adult daughters, Maria Teresa, Midiam Patricia, Monica del Rosario and Modesta Zambada Niebla.

The ex-wife and daughters were designated, said U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman Garrison K. Courtney, on the basis of their role in the ownership or control of Mr. Zambada Garcia’s front companies and assets in Mexico.

Other companies were Establo Puerto Rico S.A. de C.V., Jamaro Constructores S.A. de C.V., Multiservicios Jeviz S.A. de C.V., Estancia Infantil Nino Feliz S.C., and Rosario Niebla Cardoza A. en P.

Mr. Courtney said that Mr. Zambada Garcia, 59, is a U.S. fugitive and that the State Department has offered a $5 million reward for information leading to his arrest. He said Mr. Zambada Garcia is the capo, or captain, along with Joaquin Guzman Loera of the Sinaloa drug cartel — the most modern and violent drug-smuggling organization in Mexico.

In January 2003, he said, the U.S. District Court for the District returned an indictment against Mr. Zambada Garcia and two key lieutenants, Javier Torres Felix and his son, Vicente Zambada Niebla. Mr. Torres Felix was extradited to the United States in December.

Attorney General John Ashcroft announced the indictment and the arrest of more than 240 people in the United States and Mexico as a result of Operation Trifecta, a 19-month international Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation into cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine trafficking.

The indictment said that between August 2001 and June 2002, the Zambada-Garcia organization delivered more than two tons of cocaine with a street value of $47 million to New York, New Jersey, Chicago and California.

“The Zambada Garcia organization cannot hide behind front companies like the Sinaloa cattle and dairy business,” said DEA Administrator Karen P. Tandy. “We’re working with OFAC to expose these traffickers’ front companies for what they really are — not legitimate businesses, but illegal cash cows that fuel the drug trade, its violence and corruption.”

The action freezes all assets held by the companies’ or person’s name that may be under U.S. jurisdiction and prohibits U.S. persons from conducting financial or commercial transactions with them.

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