February 6, 2013
By: Jim Kouri

Mexican Drug Cartel Area Map.
Credits: DOJ/DEA

On Tuesday, officials from the Department of the Treasury confirmed the designation of organized crime figure Filemon Garcia Ayala -- as well as his companies located in Mexico and Southeast United States --to its list of foreign narcotics kingpins for Ayala's alleged links to Los Zetas, arguably the most violent of all the Mexican drug cartels.

In addition Ayala's interests located in Mexico, Treasury also identified three U.S. companies affiliated with Filemon Garcia Ayala as blocked property as described in the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act).

President Barack Obama identified Los Zetas as a significant foreign narcotics trafficker under the Kingpin Act in April 2009. On July 24, 2011, the President Obama identified Los Zetas as a significant Transnational Criminal Organization in the Annex to Executive Order 13581 (Blocking Property of Transnational Criminal Organizations).

But there are more than a few law enforcement and counter-narcotics officials who believe adding names to a list is a far cry from actually taking action to prevent Mexican crime gangs from operating within the United States.

"This designation comes around the same time we're hearing there will be reductions in personnel within the Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, but increases in the number of people entering the U.S. illegally thanks to the Obama administration failing to enforce the current laws. Lawlessness breeds more lawlessness," noted former police detective and military intelligence officer Sidney Franes.

Tuesday's Treasury Department action prohibits U.S. residents from conducting financial or commercial transactions with these designees, and also freezes any assets they may have under U.S. jurisdiction.

Filemon Garcia Ayala is described as a Mexican national who leads a money laundering network that makes large international transfers on behalf of Los Zetas. In June 2012, Mexican authorities sought to arrest Garcia Ayala on money laundering charges, but he evaded capture and remains a fugitive.

“By exposing another key money operation tied to Los Zetas, Treasury is depriving the Zetas of an important avenue to launder their narco-dollars,” said Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control Director Adam J. Szubin.

“We will continue to target individuals and businesses linked to Los Zetas and take any action necessary to protect the U.S. financial system from their illicit financial dealings,” Szubin added in a press statement.

Treasury is designating two of Filemon Garcia Ayala’s companies located in Mexico, Prodira Casa de Cambio S.A. de C.V. and Trastreva S.A. de C.V., both located in Zacatecas, Mexico, as part of the Kingpin Act designation.

Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control is also identifying the following U.S. companies as blocked property due to Filemon Garcia Ayala’s interest in them: Prodira S.A. de C.V., incorporated in Texas; Prodira, Inc., which is currently incorporated in Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, and Texas; and Internacional & Nacional Exchange Services Inc., which is incorporated in Texas.

Mexican businessman designated as narcotics kingpin by U.S. - National Law Enforcement | Examiner.com