Lost in much of the furor over the Al-Naser designation, on May 21, 2015 OFAC also designated Abel Briones Ruiz, a Mexican narcotics trafficker, as an SDNTK pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act. Ruiz provides support for the narcotics activities of the Gulf Cartel and controls a major cocaine smuggling route on the Southwest U.S.-Mexico border.
OFAC’s designations did not stop at Ruiz. Four individuals in Ruiz’s network and one other entity, Combustibles Briones, S.A. de C.V. were also listed. His network includes his brother-in-law, his wife, his sister, and his mother—all of which are believed to provide material support for Ruiz’s illicit operations. The designated entity, Combustibles Briones, is a Mexican gas station company owned by Ruiz.
As a consequence of the designation, “all assets of these entities and individuals that are based in the United States or in the control of U.S. persons are frozen, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.”
Ruiz was also recently charged with cocaine trafficking, financial structuring, and money laundering in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.