Authorities have just identified and moved to seize some assets tied to a new cartel in Mexico that had been quietly working under the radar for year supplying large quantities of heroin into Philadelphia. Soon after the announcement, a Mexican governor rushed to their defense claiming they were not a security threat.
Known as the Laredo Cartel, the group had been supplying the streets of Philadelphia with a steady supply of heroin from Mexico.
According to the U.S. Department of Treasury, Mexican brothers Job and Ismael “El Gordo” Laredo Donjuan have been identified as the leaders of the cartel which according to the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) is a big player in the heroin market.
“The Laredo Drug Trafficking Organization is responsible for contributing to the drug epidemic and troubling rise of heroin abuse in this country, said John E. Smith, the acting director of OFAC, which designated the group under the Kingpin Act thereby freezing their known assets and prohibiting U.S. citizens from doing business with them.
According to OFAC documents, the Laredo Cartel operates primarily out of the Mexican states of Morelos and Guerrero.
On Friday morning, the Morelos Governor Greco Ramirez spoke out in a televised interview claiming that the alleged criminal group was not a security threat in his state. During the interview, Ramirez said U.S. authorities need to take a closer look at the corruption in their agencies since drugs are able to enter that country unimpeded. He worries that the allegations by U.S. authorities only serve to damage the image of his state which in the past has been tied to violent groups such as the Beltran Leyva cartel and others. The Mexican governor said that the “alleged” cartel is not a concern in his state.
Court records filed in the federal court in Philadelphia show that since 2008, the Laredo Cartel has been manufacturing and importing large quantities of Heroin into various U.S. cities. As part of the case against the Laredo Cartel, federal prosecutors have indicted 37 individuals including the wives of the Laredo brothers Mercedes “La Meche” Barrios Hernandez and Daniela Gomez Velazquez. The charges against the cartel members range from drug conspiracy to money laundering.
The first inkling of the new cartel came when a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration task force investigated and arrested a local drug dealer named Gabriel Vargas who ran a large heroin distribution network in Philadelphia for the Laredo Cartel, court records obtained by Breitbart Texas revealed.