DEA Attempts Damage Control on Collaboration with Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico

DEA Attempts Damage Control on Collaboration with Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), in an apparent effort to defuse revelations made by a Mexican newspaper’s investigation into the agency’s secret meetings with the Sinaloa cartel in Mexico, announced that it is still going after the leadership of that drug trafficking organization.

Breitbart News reported and confirmed the findings of the Mexico-based newspaper El Universal‘s Jan. 6 exposé the day after.

El Universal, citing U.S. court documents, found that DEA agents and U.S. Attorneys secretly met with drug trafficking groups in Mexico, especially the Sinaloa Cartel, in an effort to get information on their rivals and without the knowledge of the Mexican government.

Ten days later and after a recent focus by the U.S. mainstream media on the findings, the DEA reported in a Jan. 16 press release that, with its support, the U.S. Treasury Department continues to target the leadership of the Sinaloa Cartel.

Specifically, in the subheading, the release mentioned the “action targets senior lieutenant of Ismael ‘Mayo’ Zambada Garcia responsible for narcotics transportation.”

“Mayo” Zambada Garcia’s son Vicente Jesus Zambada-Niebla is mentioned in the U.S. court documents published by El Universal confirming that the DEA secretly met with the Sinaloa cartel.

Doug Coleman, the special agent in charge of DEA’s Phoenix, Arizona, division, announced in the Jan. 16 release that the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) reported the designation, pursuant to the Kingpin Act, of Jose Guadalupe Tapia Quintero, a senior lieutenant of the Sinaloa Cartel.

According to an online White House fact sheet, the Kingpin Act allows the President to take action against drug traffickers.

It also authorizes the Treasury’s OFAC to issue “derivative designations.”

The entities and individuals designated by the Treasury Department “are subject to the same sanctions that apply to kingpins,” according to the White House.

Under the Kingpin Act, foreign drug trafficking organizations, their related businesses, and their operatives are denied access to the U.S. financial system, and all trade and transactions between the traffickers and U.S. companies and individuals is prohibited.

“The Kingpin Act authorizes the President to take these actions when he determines that a foreign person plays a significant role in international narcotics trafficking,” adds the document.

DEA, in its press release, said that Sinaloa cartel leader “Jose Guadalupe Tapia Quintero was designated for his role in the drug trafficking activities of Ismael ‘Mayo’ Zambada-Garcia and for playing a significant role in international drug trafficking.”

“We’re relentlessly following the financial trail to deprive these traffickers of their assets, draining the lifeblood from their criminal enterprises,” said the DEA’s Coleman in the release.

The President of the U.S. “identified Joaquin Guzman Loera, Ismael Zambada Garcia, and the Sinaloa Cartel as significant foreign narcotics traffickers pursuant to the Kingpin Act in 2001, 2002 and 2009, respectively,” according to the DEA release.