Morgan Ortagus, Department Spokesperson
The United States is committed to preventing and combating narcotics trafficking globally. Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned Guatemalan mayor Erik Salvador Suñiga Rodriguez, known as “El Pocho,” and the Suñiga Rodriguez drug trafficking organization (Suñiga Rodriguez DTO (drug trafficking organization) or “Los Pochos” DTO) as significant foreign narcotics traffickers pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (known as the “Kingpin Act”). OFAC designated four additional Guatemalan nationals for providing material support to Erik Suñiga Rodriguez and the Suñiga Rodriguez DTO. Additionally, OFAC designated five Guatemalan businesses associated with the Suñiga Rodriguez DTO.
The Kingpin Act blocks all property and interests in property within the United States, or within the possession or control of any U.S. person, which are owned or controlled by designated individuals or entities. The Kingpin Act also generally prohibits transactions or dealings by U.S. persons, or persons within the United States, in property or interests in property of designated individuals or entities.
The production, trafficking, and use of illicit drugs are among the most pressing challenges to the health and welfare of the citizens of the Western Hemisphere. Since June 2000, more than 2,200 entities and individuals have been named pursuant to the Kingpin Act for their role in international narcotics trafficking. The United States will continue a whole-of-government approach to denying foreign narcotics traffickers access to the U.S. financial system and to combat the scourge of drug trafficking that threatens the health and welfare of Americans.