The U.S. sanctioned a son of Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, three members of the powerful Sinaloa cartel and two Mexican-based firms, alleging they trafficked fentanyl and other drugs into the U.S, the Associated Press reports. The sanctions came the day Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador talked with President Biden by phone about immigration and the fentanyl crisis. A White House readout of the call said the two presidents recognized their nations’ efforts to counter fentanyl and arms trafficking “by dismantling criminal networks.” The Treasury Department designated El Chapo’s son. Joaquin Guzman Lopez, and others for financial sanctions, including a freeze on American-owned assets and bank accounts and a ban on Americans doing business with them. A Culiacan, Mexico, chemical and lab equipment company and a real estate business also were targeted for sanctions.
The latest penalties by the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control follow April fentanyl trafficking charges against three other Guzman sons, Ovidio Guzmán López, Jesús Alfredo Guzmán Salazar and Iván Archivaldo Guzmán Sálazar, known as the Chapitos, or Little Chapos, and two dozen members of the Sinaloa cartel. El Chapo was extradited in 2017 to the U.S., where he was convicted of a massive drug conspiracy that spread murder and mayhem for more than two decades. He was sentenced in 2019 to life in a U.S. prison. Fentanyl is the deadliest drug in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 71,000 people died in the U.S. from overdosing on synthetic opioids such as fentanyl in 2021, up from about 58,000 the year before. López Obrador has denied that drug cartels make fentanyl in Mexico, although he has acknowledged that precursor chemicals and finished fentanyl are smuggled into Mexico from China, a claim China has denied.