On 23 December 2014, the US Treasury Department announced that it was blocking the property of Cesar Gastelum Serrano, a Mexican national, under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (“Kingpin Act”). The Treasury Department alleges that Mr Serrano is “one of the most prolific cocaine suppliers for Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel” and is capable of trafficking tons of cocaine per week through Honduras and Guatemala to Mexico. Also designated were 3 brothers of Mr Serrano, Alfredo, Jaime and Guadalupe Candelario Gastelum Serrano, for providing direct support to Mr Serrano’s drug-trafficking activities.

Earlier, on 18 December 2014, the Treasury Department designated Alejandra Araujo Uriarte, a Mexican national, under the Kingpin Act.  Ms Araujo Uriarte was designated for her role in holding and concealing assets in her name on behalf of her son-in-law, Juan Jose Esparragoza Morena. Mr Esparragoza Morena  is known as “El Azul” and is a leader of the Sinaloa Cartel.

The Sinaloa Cartel was designated as a significant foreign narcotics trafficker in 2009.