U.S. sanctions nine Sinaloa cartel members & Colombian cocaine leader

WASHINGTON – The United States has imposed sanctions on ten people believed to be involved in the illicit drug trade, targeting the Sinaloa Cartel and a prominent Colombian cocaine leader. Nine members of Mexico’s powerful Sinaloa Cartel, responsible for manufacturing and distributing fentanyl in the United States, have been sanctioned, alongside the leader of Colombia’s Clan del Golfo, a major cocaine production and trafficking organization. 

As Emily’s Hope reported last month, a United Nations report revealed that Colombia’s cocaine crop has set a record high. According to the report, coca crops now cover 568,000 acres of Colombia.

Colombian national Jobanis de Jesus Avila Villadiego, known as Chiquito Malo, is not only believed to be the current leader of Clan del Golfo and cocaine production and trafficking, but he’s also accused of orchestrating a murder campaign against Colombian security forces in the aftermath of the announcement of a former Clan del Golfo leader’s extradition to the U.S. last year.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has also sanctioned nine members of the Los Chapitos faction of Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel. This cartel is responsible for a significant portion of illicit fentanyl and other deadly drugs entering the United States. Seven of the nine sanctioned cartel members were previously indicted by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.  They include Jorge Humberto Figueroa Benitez, Leobardo Garcia Corrales, Martin Garcia Corrales, Liborio Nunez Aguirre, Samuel Leon Alvarado, Carlos Mario Limon Vazquez, and Mario Alberto Jimenez Castro.

Two alleged associates of one of the members were also sanctioned: Julio Cesar Dominguez Hernandez, accused of importing and selling cocaine and methamphetamine in the United States, and Jesus Miguel Vibanco Garcia, accused of importing fentanyl.

The Sinaloa Cartel, once led by drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, saw his sons, known as the Chapitos, take over leadership after Guzman’s arrest and extradition to the United States. Recently, one of the Chapitos, Ovidio Guzmán López, was extradited to the U.S., facing accusations of driving the Sinaloa cartel into fentanyl production.