WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today designated Eduardo Mendoza Robles (a.k.a. Zeta 33) as a specially designated narcotics trafficker (SDNT) pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act). Mendoza Robles is responsible for transporting drugs, weapons, and cash across the U.S.-Mexico border on behalf of the Los Zetas cartel. Today’s action prohibits U.S. persons from conducting financial or commercial transactions with Mendoza Robles, and freezes any assets he may have under U.S. jurisdiction.
Mendoza Robles is a drug and weapons trafficker working on behalf of Los Zetas, relying on multiple individuals to smuggle contraband in both directions across the U.S.-Mexico border. In July 2012, Mendoza Robles, along with other members of Los Zetas, was indicted in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas, Laredo Division, for conspiracy to export arms.
“Today’s designation targets a major trafficker who has incessantly exploited the U.S.-Mexico border through the illicit movement of narcotics, weapons, and cash,” said Treasury’s OFAC Director Adam J. Szubin. “Robles’s activities have fueled violence and crime, and we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to disrupt and expose such operations.”
Today’s announcement follows the designation last month of Juanita del Carmen Rios Hernandez as a SDNT. Rios Hernandez is the wife of Mexican drug lord Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, the jailed leader of Los Zetas. President Obama identified Los Zetas as a significant foreign narcotics trafficker pursuant to the Kingpin Act in April 2009, and, in July 2011, he named Los Zetas as a significant Transnational Criminal Organization pursuant to Executive Order 13581.
“Freezing assets of international drug traffickers like Eduardo Mendoza Robles is yet another superior example of how U.S. law enforcement agencies, working together, continue to relentlessly combat international drug cartels and violent criminals on all fronts,” said the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Houston Field Division, Acting Special Agent in Charge Steven S. Whipple.
The designation of Mendoza Robles was done in close coordination with the DEA, Laredo Division.
Internationally, OFAC has designated more than 1,300 businesses and individuals linked to 103 drug kingpins since June 2000. 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 up to $5 million. Criminal fines for corporations may reach $10 million. Other individuals could face up to 10 years in prison and fines pursuant to Title 18 of the United States Code for criminal violations of the Kingpin Act.