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Washington
Treasury blocks money transfer firms linked to drug cartel
WASHINGTON (2/6/13)--Prodira S.A. de C.V., Prodira, Inc. and Internacional & Nacional Exchange Services Inc., have been designated as blocked properties by the U.S. Treasury due to their alleged connections to a Mexican money laundering network.

The money transfer businesses are owned by Filemon Garcia Ayala, a Mexican citizen who has been tied to Los Zetas, a massive Mexican drug cartel, according to the Treasury release. Filemon Garcia Ayala leads a money laundering network that makes large international transfers on behalf of Los Zetas, the Treasuy said. Mexican authorities have sought his arrest since June 2012, and he is currently a fugitive.

The Treasury has also designated Prodira Casa de Cambio S.A. de C.V. and Trastreva S.A. de C.V., as blocked properties.

U.S. persons are forbidden from conducting financial or commercial transactions with these designees. Any assets held by the companies that are held under U.S. jurisdiction have also been frozen, the Treasury added.

"By exposing another key money operation tied to Los Zetas, Treasury is depriving the Zetas of an important avenue to launder their narco-dollars," Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control Director Adam Szubin said. "We will continue to target individuals and businesses linked to Los Zetas and take any action necessary to protect the U.S. financial system from their illicit financial dealings," he added.

Tuesday's action was part of an ongoing effort under the Kingpin Act to apply financial measures against significant foreign narcotics traffickers and their organizations worldwide. The Treasury Department reports that it has designated more than 1,200 individuals and entities pursuant to the Kingpin Act since June 2000. Penalties for violations of the Kingpin Act range from civil penalties of up to $1.075 million per violation to more severe criminal penalties.

For the full Treasury release, use the resource link
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