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DEA NEWS: Los Gueros Mexican Drug Trafficking Organization Targeted
“Drug trafficking organizations’ main motivation in the illegal drug trade is making money, and they will go to any length to hide, disguise and safeguard their drug profits,” said DEA’s Acting Deputy Chief of Operations for the Office of Financial Operations, Brian McKnight. “Today’s designations will have a direct impact on the businesses owned by Los Gueros and the flow of illicit money. It strikes a powerful blow at the illegal proceeds and exposes the international businesses they used to hide their drug profits.”
“Today’s designation of Los Gueros’ business network follows the arrest and extradition to the United States of two of its leaders. This action will further damage Los Gueros’ business empire and impede its ability to reap benefits from the drug trade,” said Treasury’s Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Adam J. Szubin.
This action, pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act), generally prohibits U.S. persons from conducting financial or commercial transactions with these designees, and also freezes any assets they may have under U.S. jurisdiction.
Based in Guadalajara, Mexico, Los Gueros is responsible for transporting multi-ton quantities of narcotics into the United States. By using aliases and listing close family members and associates on the deeds of their companies, Los Gueros has been able to hide ownership interest in companies and properties for many years. The businesses designated today include: the Mexican tequila company, Casa El Viejo Luis Distribuidora (a.k.a. Tequila El Viejo Luis); its two parent companies, Grupo Comercial Rool and Rancho El Nuevo Pachon; a distribution company in Germany, ROOL Europe; and two other related entities based in Mexico, Operadora y Administradora de Restaurantes y Bares Rudu and Asesoria y Servicios Administrativos, Tecnicos y Operativos Durel.
Today's designation would not have been possible without the joint effort and support of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE HSI) and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.
“Transnational criminal organizations are only as effective as their cash flow,” said ICE HSI Executive Associate Director James Dinkins. “Along with our partners, HSI is committed to making it as difficult as possible for kingpins to disguise their ill-gotten profits behind the façade of legitimate business.”
In May 2009, the Eastern District of New York charged the organization’s leaders Esteban and Luis Rodriguez Olivera with narcotics trafficking and money laundering. According to the indictment, Los Gueros imported more than 100,000 kilograms of cocaine into the United States between 1996 and 2008. In 2007, Esteban and Luis Rodriguez Olivera were charged in the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia with drug trafficking in relation to a 2006 Mexican Navy seizure of over five tons of cocaine. Esteban and Luis Rodriguez Olivera were later extradited to the United States.
In February 2011, OFAC designated Los Gueros and its four leaders, Esteban Rodriguez Olivera, Luis Rodriguez Olivera, Miguel Rodriguez Olivera and Daniel Rodriguez Olivera as specially designated narcotics traffickers pursuant to the Kingpin Act.
Since June 2000 the President has identified 103 drug kingpins and OFAC has designated more than 1,300 businesses and individuals. Penalties for violations of the Kingpin Act range from civil penalties of up to $1.075 million per violation to more severe criminal penalties. Criminal penalties for corporate officers may include up to 30 years in prison and fines of up to $5 million. Criminal fines for corporations may reach $10 million. Other individuals face up to 10 years in prison and fines for criminal violation of the Kingpin Act pursuant to Title 18 of the United States Code.