Up hill battle with all the corrupt government officials.
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is taking aim at the finances of the powerful Jalisco cartel in what a top anti-money laundering official said was an opening salvo in the fight to stop criminal gangs from flourishing with impunity.
Santiago Nieto, the new head of the finance ministry’s Financial Intelligence Unit, told Reuters on Thursday he had filed a complaint against three businesses and seven people linked to the Jalisco New Generation Cartel. On Wednesday, the finance ministry had said Nieto’s unit filed its first complaint with prosecutors, but it provided no details.
The move against the Jalisco cartel, a relative newcomer that has risen to become one of Mexico’s most dangerous criminal gangs, sends a “first message” under Lopez Obrador, who took office Saturday, of his government’s determination to crack down on drug gang finances, Nieto said.
“I am convinced the best way to prevent criminal behavior is by sending a message that these types of acts that violate trust and social norms will be punished,” he said in a telephone interview.
Mexico’s drug war has raged for over a decade despite the capture of kingpins such as Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. Although cartels have splintered, the flow of drugs north has continued unabated, while violence in Mexico hit record levels last year.
In October, the United States offered a $10 million reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspected leader of the Jalisco organization, Nemesio Oseguera, also known as El Mencho.
Nieto said he was able to quickly file his complaints with prosecutors because the businesses and people they targeted already appeared on the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) so-called blacklist of drug traffickers.
Complaints from the Financial Intelligence Unit generally include sufficient evidence to prompt prosecutors to open criminal investigations.
Leftist Lopez Obrador, who has pledged to fight corruption, has repeatedly stressed that he wants good relations with the United States, Mexico’s neighbor and main export partner.