MEXICO CITY — The United States singled out eight “plaza chiefs” of Mexico’s Sinaloa drugs cartel for sanctions Tuesday, saying they rely on “horrific acts of violence” to control a large swathe of the US-Mexico border.
The US Treasury named the eight, alleged top deputies of notorious Sinaloa chief Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, as “Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers,” placing freezes on their assets on US soil and banning Americans from doing any business with them.
The eight are Cenobio Flores Pacheco (also known as Luis Fernando Castro Villa), Jesus Alfredo Salazar Ramirez, Guillermo Nieblas Nava (aka Adelmo Niebla Gonzalez), Ramon Ignacio Paez Soto, Felipe De Jesus Sosa Canisales, Armando Lopez Aispuro, Jose Javier Rascon Ramirez, and Raul Sabori Cisneros.
Each one is a Sinaloa plaza boss, managing narcotics smuggling for the cartel in a specific area along the border between the US state of Arizona and Mexico’s northern Sonora state, the Treasury said.
“Plaza bosses rely on violence to maintain their positions, using sicarios (hitmen) to control a specific geographic area,” it said in a statement.
The Treasury noted that Salazar, Paez and Sabori have already been arrested by Mexican authorities.
Adam Szubin, who heads the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, said the designation of the eight under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act “marks another step in OFAC’s efforts to specifically target the narcotics traffickers responsible for the horrific acts of violence committed along the Arizona border with Mexico.”