The U.S. government announced sanctions Thursday against six people in Mexico, including a “corrupt” police official, for aiding the Jalisco drug cartel. The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, says the police official gave information to Mexico’s most violent and powerful gang, known as CJNG.
The office said Jalisco local police coordinator Severo Flores Mendoza “provides law enforcement information to CJNG in exchange for bribes.”
The sanctions also target Julio Cesar Montero Pinzon, allegedly a hitman for the cartel in the resort city of Puerto Vallarta. The office said Pinzon is part of an “enforcement group” for the cartel that “orchestrates assassinations of rivals and politicians using high-powered weaponry.”
The sanctions also target relatives of deceased Jalisco cartel lieutenant Saul Alejandro Rincon Godoy.
“Violence and corruption have been critical to CJNG’s growth in the past decade,” Brian Nelson, the Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement.
The Department of Justice considers the Jalisco cartel to be “one of the five most dangerous transnational criminal organizations in the world.”
Last month, Mexican authorities announced theyof the cartel. Francisco Javier Rodriguez Hernandez, known as “El Señorón” or “XL” or “Frank,” was apprehended in the tourist city of Mazatlan, in the northwest state of Sinaloa, in an operation carried out by navy agents.
The head of CJNG,, is one of the most wanted drug lords in the world, with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration offering $10 million for his arrest.
Mexico has been trapped in a spiral of cartel-related violence that has left more than 340,000 dead since 2006, when the government launched a controversial anti-drug operation with federal troops. In April, authorities said suspected drug cartel gunmenat gunpoint for several hours.
That same month, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador confirmed thattrained by U.S. authorities to fight drug cartels because it was infiltrated by criminals.