5/26/2017 InSight Crime
The US Treasury Department has assigned a little-known heroin trafficking group based in Mexico to its “Kingpin” list, raising questions as to why US authorities are taking this step now and what it says about broader shifts to US anti-narcotics strategy.
In a May 24 press release, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated José Luis Ruelas Torres and ten other alleged members the Ruelas Torres Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO) to the department’s list of major foreign drug trafficking targets. According to Treasury, the Ruelas Torres DTO has produced and smuggled heroin into many US cities, including Los Angeles and New York for over two decades.
“Treasury is targeting José Luis Ruelas Torres as a Significant Foreign Narcotics Trafficker under the Kingpin Act because he and his drug trafficking organization are major contributors to our nation’s heroin epidemic,” Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin was quoted as saying.