Washington: Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated four Mexican nationals, pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act). Eliseo Imperial Castro, a.k.a. “Cheyo Antrax,” Alfonso Lira Sotelo, a.k.a. “El Atlante,” Javier Lira Sotelo, a.k.a “El Hannibal” or “El Carnicero,” and Alma Delia Lira Sotelo have been designated for their narcotics trafficking and money laundering in support or on behalf of the Sinaloa Cartel and/or its high-ranking members. As a result of today’s action, all assets of those designated that are within U.S. jurisdiction or in the control of U.S. persons are frozen, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.
“Eliseo Imperial Castro’s and Alfonso Lira Sotelo’s narcotics trafficking and money laundering activities serve to expand the Sinaloa Cartel’s influence into California,” said OFAC Acting Director John E. Smith. “In conjunction with the Government of Mexico, OFAC will continue to aggressively target narcotics traffickers, the laundering of their illicit proceeds, and those who participate in advancing their criminal activities.”
The Southern District of California has charged Eliseo Imperial Castro and Alfonso Lira Sotelo with several narcotics trafficking violations involving methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, and money laundering. OFAC is designating Eliseo Imperial Castro for materially assisting, supporting, providing services to, and/or acting for or on behalf of his uncle, Ismael Zambada Garcia, and/or the Sinaloa Cartel. The President identified Ismael Zambada Garcia and the Sinaloa Cartel as significant foreign narcotics traffickers pursuant to the Kingpin Act in 2002 and 2009, respectively. Ismael Zambada Garcia is a U.S. fugitive, and the State Department has offered a $5 million dollar reward for information leading to his arrest. Eliseo Imperial Castro is a high-ranking member of the Los Antrax organization, the enforcement group of the Sinaloa Cartel, and operates on behalf of Ismael Zambada Garcia. Eliseo Imperial Castro is also a U.S. fugitive.
Alfonso Lira Sotelo and his brother, Javier Lira Sotelo, transported drugs on behalf of Eliseo Imperial Castro. Mexican authorities arrested Alfonso Lira Sotelo in September 2014 and Javier Lira Sotelo in September 2015. OFAC is designating Alfonso Lira Sotelo for materially assisting and/or supporting the narcotics trafficking activities of Ismael Zambada Garcia, the Sinaloa Cartel, and/or Eliseo Imperial Castro; and/or acting for on behalf of Ismael Zambada Garcia, the Sinaloa Cartel, and/or Eliseo Imperial Castro. OFAC is designating Javier Lira Sotelo for materially assisting and/or supporting the narcotics trafficking activities of Ismael Zambada Garcia, Eliseo Imperial Castro, and/or Alfonso Lira Sotelo; and/or acting for or on behalf of Ismael Zambada Garcia, Eliseo Imperial Castro, and/or Alfonso Lira Sotelo. OFAC is designating Alma Delia Lira Sotelo for materially assisting or providing support for the narcotics trafficking activities of her brother, Alfonso Lira Sotelo.
Today’s action was taken in coordination with the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California, and the government of Mexico.
Since June 2000, more than 1,900 entities and individuals have been named pursuant to the Kingpin Act for their role in international narcotics trafficking. Penalties for violations of the Kingpin Act range from civil penalties of up to $1.075 million per violation to more severe criminal penalties. Criminal penalties for corporate officers may include up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $5 million. Criminal fines for corporations may reach $10 million. Other individuals could face up to 10 years in prison and fines pursuant to Title 18 of the United States Code for criminal violations of the Kingpin Act.
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