“MX” for Borderland Beat
|Jesús González Peñuelas (alias “Chuy González) is an independent drug kingpin based in Sinaloa and Sonora that has strategic alliances other drug cartels. He is currently at large.|
US authorities have issued charges and economic sanctions to Mexican drug kingpin Jesus Gonzalez Penuelas (alias “Chuy Gonzalez”) and his criminal group, the Gonzalez Penuelas Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO).
A federal grand jury indictment was unsealed today in San Diego, California, accusing Chuy Gonzalez of international drug trafficking as an independent or freelance drug leader. US authorities say his criminal group is one of the largest raw opium gum and heroin sources of supply in northern Mexico. They also claim he is a major distributor of fentanyl.
Since 2007, Chuy Gonzalez operates primarily in the Mexican states of Sinaloa and Sonora, in various ports of entry along the US-Mexico border, and with distribution cells in California, Texas, Colorado, Washington, Utah, and Nevada. He also oversees several Sinaloa heroin processing laboratories and is responsible for transporting and selling cocaine and M-30s fentanyl pills.
Chuy Gonzalez reportedly cooperates with various criminal groups in Mexico, acting as an “enforcement arm” for various of these cartels’ in their drug trafficking routes. Authorities say he is linked to Fausto Isidro Meza Flores (alias “Chapo Isidro”) and Rafael Caro Quintero.
In addition to these drug charges, Chuy Gonzalez was identified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) as a Significant Foreign Narcotics Traffickers pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act). This designation froze all his US-based assets and prohibited US citizens and entities from conducting transactions with him.
Kingpin Chart with the individuals and businesses sanctioned (source: OFAC)
The OFAC also designated his brothers Ignacio and Wilfrido Gonzalez Penuelas, Efrain Mendivil Figueroa, Adelmo Nunez Molina, and Raul and Juana Payan Meraz.
- Ignacio Gonzalez Penuelas, a Mexican national, serves as a primary lieutenant for the organization by overseeing the security of narcotics shipments. In 2018, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado charged Ignacio Gonzalez Penuelas with multiple drug trafficking offenses.
- Mexican national Wilfrido Gonzalez Penuelas is involved in heroin and opium trafficking by operating street-level stores within the Gonzalez Penuelas DTO’s territory in Mexico.
- Efrain Mendivil Figueroa is also a Mexican national and one of the Gonzalez Penuelas DTO’s fentanyl, heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine distributors and transportation coordinators. In 2019, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon charged him with trafficking heroin, methamphetamine, and fentanyl.
- Mexican national Adelmo Nunez Molina is a raw opium gum source-of-supply for Jesus Gonzalez Penuelas. In 2019, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado charged Adelmo Nunez Molina with various drug trafficking charges.
- Raul Payan Meraz, a Mexican national, oversees poppy production for the Gonzalez Penuelas DTO.
- Juana Payan Meraz, also a Mexican national, is a narcotics trafficking associate of Raul Payan Meraz.
The entity designated was construction company City Plaza, Sociedad Anonima de Capital Variable, based in Guasave, Sinaloa, for being owned or controlled by Efrain Mendivil Figueroa.
Following the announcement in the US, Mexico’s Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF) also froze all of Chuy Gonzalez’s bank accounts in Mexico. This measure was confirmed on Twitter by the UIF’s chief Santiago Nieto Castillo, who said that the accounts were frozen due to Chuy Gonzalez’s suspected drug trafficking involvement.
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