US sanctions more Mexican drug cartel members and firms over fentanyl trafficking

WASHINGTON – The White House has imposed sanctions on an additional 13 members of Mexico’s influential Sinaloa drug cartel, as well as firms located in Sonora, Mexico, on charges of trafficking fentanyl and other illicit drugs into the United States.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury, in a statement regarding these sanctions, highlighted the Sinaloa cartel’s status as one of the most powerful and pervasive drug trafficking organizations globally, claiming that it is responsible for a significant portion of fentanyl and other deadly drugs trafficked into the U.S.

This latest action follows a series of indictments and sanctions on individuals and entities in China and Mexico believed to be responsible for manufacturing and trafficking fentanyl.

“Treasury will continue to use its authorities to expose and isolate those who profit from deadly fentanyl sales in the United States,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. 

Juan Carlos Morgan Huerta, known as “Cacayo,” is one of the key figures targeted by the sanctions. Authorities say he’s responsible for managing cartel operations in Nogales and is alleged to have overseen the trafficking of multi-ton quantities of drugs. 

Courtesy: U.S. Department of the Treasury

The sanctions also extend to Morgan Huerta’s family members, who are believed to be involved in these illicit activities. His brother, Miguel Angel Morgan Huerta, is accused of using his connections as a former Mexican law enforcement officer to bribe authorities, while another brother, Martin Morgan Huerta, and their uncle, Oscar Murillo Morgan, maintained sources of supply for illicit drugs. Two other brothers, Jose Arnoldo Morgan Huerta (a.k.a. “Chachio”) and Jose Luis Morgan Huerta (a.k.a. “Gordo”), along with brother-in-law David Alonso Chavarin Preciado (a.k.a. “Chava”), are also accused of playing key roles in illicit drug trafficking, including managing transportation and logistics, negotiating business deals, and laundering illicit drug proceeds.

In addition to Morgan Huerta and his family, the sanctions also extend to several other cartel members and businesses, including a restaurant, stone and mining companies, and an import-export firm.

“The DEA is really focusing on the Sinaloa cartel and the Jalisco cartel. They transitioned from methamphetamine to fentanyl production,” DEA Special Agent in Charge Justin King told Emily’s Hope founder Angela Kennecke for an upcoming Grieving Out Loud podcast episode. “First we saw the heroin with some fentanyl mixed into it, and then it evolved to just pure fentanyl, and then they started making the fake pills to look like prescription drugs.”

You can check out the latest Grieving Out Loud episodes here.