Despite being blacklisted by the US Treasury Department, the Mexican government appears to have taken little action against a number of companies linked to El Chapo’s Sinaloa Cartel.
According to a review of Mexican businesses blacklisted by the US Treasury Department, there are 95 companies linked to the Sinaloa Cartel — 14 of which have had a relationship with the Mexican government via business contracts or concessions, reported El Universal.
In one example, in 2007 the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) blacklisted the “Estancia Infantil Niño Feliz” — a daycare center for children — for allegedly being used by the Sinaloa Cartel to launder money. One of the daycare’s original partners was Maria Teresa Zambada, a daughter of Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada — a top leader of the Sinaloa Cartel.
In 2009, Daniel Karam, then-director of Mexico’s Social Security Institute (IMSS), said Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office (PGR) was investigating Teresa Zambada in light of the daycare’s listing by OFAC.
Nonetheless, the daycare has received a number of IMSS contracts, the most recent one in early 2014, according to El Universal. Currently, the daycare receives around $185 per month from the government for each of the 209 children it cares for — or approximately $490,000 per year.
According to El Universal’s count, Sinaloa state has the most businesses linked to theSinaloa Cartel, with 35. Jalisco is second with 17, while the states of Baja California, Sonora, Mexico, Morelos, and the Federal District all had up to 12 companies linked to the Sinaloa Cartel.
InSight Crime Analysis
When a company is blacklisted by the Treasury Department’s OFAC office under the “Kingpin Act,” their assets are frozen and US businesses are prevented from conducting financial or commercial transactions with them.
Such a designation would presumably elicit a more aggressive response on the Mexican government’s part — at the very least, an investigation into whether the blacklisting by Treasury was warranted. Nonetheless, it appears this has largely not happened. Instead, the government has continued to issue contracts and do business with a number of the companies linked to the Sinaloa Cartel by the Treasury Department. Many of these blacklisted companies continue to pay state and federal taxes, especially in Sinaloa.
This lends itself to rumors — common during the administration of President Felipe Calderon — that the Mexican government implicitly favors the Sinaloa Cartel, preferring to take action against other, more violent cartels such as the Zetas. The Mexican government, however, has always vehemently denied such assertions.