The Sinaloa Cartel and the ‘Shark Case’

 Steve C Borderland Beat  El Universal

Through the company Corporativo
Pesquero Velázquez, owned by Martín Velázquez Cuevas, the Sinaloa Cartel was
transporting cocaine from Costa Rica in frozen sharks that were filled with the
drug and transferred from Central America to the Port of Progreso, Yucatán, to
later be transported to Jalisco. This operation, for which they slaughtered
tens of thousands of sharks, lasted several years, at least since 2009 when a
first shipment of sharks containing cocaine was seized in Progreso, by the
Secretary of the Navy, until 2017, the year in which he was arrested. and accused
the fishing businessman Velázquez.

This operation, in which drugs
were also sent to Houston, Texas, and other parts of the world was called the “Shark Case” and is part of the arrests and blows to the Sinaloan
cartel, documented by the Mexican government. The fishing company that worked
for the Sinaloan drug traffickers reported deposits of 272 million pesos from
2007 to 2019 and withdrawals in the same period for 1,783 million pesos, while
in its tax returns, the Corporativo Pesquero Velázquez only reported the accumulative income of 6.4 million pesos to the SAT, from 2014 to 2018.
According to financial investigations from the federal government, this company
received in its accounts transfers of 139.2 million pesos between 2018 and
2019, resources that it triangulated by sending them to the accounts of an
individual identified with the Sinaloa Cartel.

In an official report of the Mexican government, prepared by the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Ministry
of Finance, details of the blockades of 1,354 bank accounts of 401 people
linked to the Sinaloa Cartel, who had amounts of 233 frozen million 300
thousand 578 pesos and 77.8 million dollars. There are 77 family members on the
list and the rest are businessmen linked to Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, Ismael
“El Mayo” Zambada and Juan José Esparragoza Moreno “El Azul”, all indicated on
the OFAC lists (Office of Control of Foreign Assets of the United States) and
in the Lists of Blocked Persons of the FIU.

Of a total of 871 targets that
were related to the Sinaloa Cartel, 273 were identified by OFAC, 165 by the
Lists of Blocked Persons, 250 through criminal complaints, and 77 relatives of
the three Sinaloan capos. 

Del Chapo included 29 family members, among his 10
children (one of them Edgar Guzmán López, executed in 2008), his 3 wives, 4
brothers, 11 nephews, and a brother-in-law; by El Mayo21 family members were
reviewed, including his 3 brothers, 1 partner, 7 children, 1 grandson, 2
brothers-in-law, 2 nephews, 2 daughters-in-law, and a legal representative of a
company, all of them linked to 14 companies that were investigated; While “El Azul” they investigated 13 relatives, 2 spouses, 6 children, 1
daughter-in-law, 1 son-in-law, a wife of his nephew, and 1 sister, in addition
to 23 financial operators and name men who ran 23 companies linked to the boss.

The report reveals that only
3,184 individuals with operations in the financial system were identified for
Chapo Guzmán and that they had links with the drug trafficker imprisoned in the
United States, while the Cartel as a whole had significant financial operations
for 30 million pesos in the system banking national, international transfers
11.3 million, 69 million purchase of vehicles, 2 million in jewelry and watches
and 88 million pesos in the purchase of property. Joaquín Guzmán mentions in an
official document in the possession of this column that “He was considered
the most powerful drug trafficker in the world, according to various
international accounts,” when he was arrested in 2016, then his
extradition to the United States in 2017 and the trial and conviction to life
imprisonment.

Financially – the report
continues – Joaquín Guzmán Loera is referred to in more than 800 operations on
behalf of other subjects, due to a customs operation in which the preliminary
inquiry number 4058 / DGI / 93 dated March 3, 1998 refers, without requiring
more data. Regarding the activity and the reports of Chapo before the federal
treasury, he points out: “No fiscal or corporate information.”

In the case of Ismael Zambada
García, the report says, his name has not appeared in the financial system
since 1997, despite the fact that he has two registered checking accounts and
no annual tax or informative or third-party returns are located. He is
mentioned as “leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, partner of Joaquín Guzmán Loera. In
2104, after the arrest of “El Chapo”, he occupied the leadership of
the cartel, controlling a large part of the heroin production in Mexico to
traffic it to the United States “. They cite six different nicknames and
aliases: “Zambada”, “El Mayo”, Zambada García Ismael Mario,
Loaiza Avendaño Jesús, García Hernández Javier, Higuera Renteria Ismael
andLópez Landeros Jerónimo, as well as 3 possible dates of birth in 1948, 1951
or 1952, and three places of birth: Costa Rica; El Salado in Sinaloa, and
Guadalajara, Jalisco.

According to the UIF report,
there are 14 companies that have direct links with El Mayo Zambada and his
relatives: Autotransporte Jym, Business Administration Services, Leche Santa
Mónica, Establo Puerto Rico, Estancia Infantil Niño Feliz, Fertilizer Saenz,
Inmobiliaria Niebla, Jamaro Constructores, Lácteos Elaborados del Pacífico,
Living 2030, Multiservicios Jevis, Nueva Industria de Ganaderos de Culiacán,
Petrobarrancos, SA de CV, Production Pesquera Dona Mariela.

Of Juan José Esparragoza, whom
the official report mentions as “the conciliatory narco ” for
promoting alliances between the cartels in the country, his birth in Chuicopa,
Badiraguato, on February 3, 1949 is mentioned and on whether he is alive or
dead, The FIU report says: “There are rumors of his death since June
2014, when it was said that he had died of a heart attack (information has not
been corroborated).” Financially, they identified 3 bank accounts, one in
Seguros Inbursa, which registered in 2013 and 2014 bank interest for 8,049
pesos, another in BBVA where direct debit payments of 1,010 pesos are observed
in 2018 and in 2013 the sale of a property of 2.1 million pesos together with
Maria Antonia Esparragoza Moreno, acquired by María del Rosario Arana
Esparragoza and Nora Guadalupe Arana Esparragoza. Fiscally, it says, it
began operations in October 1983 and has been suspended since December 31,
2009, without annual tax returns.

To the companies that the
authorities of the Ministry of Finance relate to Esparragoza Moreno “El
azul” and his two families, the Esparragoza Gastelum and the Esparragoza
Monzón, there are a total of 23 and there are from the Agrícola y Ganadera
Cuemir, Agropecuaria del Volcán, Agropecuaria Sánchez Loza, to Constructors
such as Aquasum, SA de CV, Avicultura Al Detail, Bona Habitat, SA, Concretos
TYG, Construcciones y Edificaciones Linsesa, Indus Development of Tijuana, El
Baño de María, Canary Service Stations, Grupo Cinjab, Grupo Impergoza , Grupo
Isayas, Gasodiesel and Ancona Services, Alamos Country Gas Station, Villabonita
Gas Station and Services, La Villa Gas Station, Materials and Recycled from Los
Mochis, Petrobarrancos, Chulavista Services and Northwest Waste Transporter.

Other companies that have been
investigated and sanctioned with the freezing of their accounts and assets by
the UIF for their links with the Sinaloa Cartel are Agua Mala, owned by
agricultural businessman César Bueno Martínez, dedicated to the “planting,
cultivation and harvest of grain corn” , which according to the UIF
investigations, acquired vehicles for 2.1 million pesos, in 2014 two trucks
(one 725 thousand pesos and another one for 539 thousand pesos) and in 2016
another for 883 thousand pesos. This small agricultural company made bank
deposits for 2.3 million pesos between 2003 and 2017, while it withdrew 9.3
million pesos between 2002 and 2018. Comercializadora de Granos Patrón, SA de
CV also appears, dedicated to the wholesale trade of grains and seeds, in the
that Bueno Martínez and his wife Angélica Pérez Maldonado are here. This
company was alerted for being part of a group of companies investigated for the
September 2008 seizure of dollars in Culiacán, and received between 2013 and
2019 international transfers for 112 million dollars from the United Arab
Emirates , while it sent 28.1 million dollars mainly To united states.

Finally, the FIU report shows
three mining companies linked to the Sinaloan cartel, which according to the
authorities were “used as a bridge because there was never a permanence of
resources” and were dedicated to dispersing resources in a fractional manner.
There is Golden Qu, SA de CV and Silver Qu, dedicated to the exploitation of mineral
deposits and to the mining of zinc and lead, respectively. Between 2011 and
2013, these companies had cash withdrawals of 20.9 million pesos and never
filed federal tax returns, so the origin of their resources is unknown. 

The
shareholders mentioned are José Armando Quezada Silva , Pedro Ángel Quezada
Silva and José Armando Quezada Rincon . Impulsora Aurum, SC de RL also appears,
which they link with Ruth Maribel Figueroa Delgado for having triangulated 2.3
million pesos between their own accounts and then withdrawing 6.2 million pesos
in cash. This company is linked with transfers to Víctor Manuel Félix Beltrán,
the operator of the sons of Chapo Guzmán , who escaped on January 29 of this
year from the South Prison of the CDMX along with two other drug traffickers.