U.S. widens asset freeze of Guatemalan drug cartel

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 14, 2012 12:38 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Wednesday imposed sanctions on two more relatives of Guatemalan drug lord Waldemar Lorenzana Lima, broadening its asset freeze on the family and businesses linked to the country's Sinaloa drug cartel.

The U.S. Treasury said it had designated Ovaldino Lorenzana Cordon and Marta Julia Lorenzana Cordon for their alleged role in the drug-trafficking activities of their father, who is awaiting extradition to the United States.

"For years, Waldemar Lorenzana Lima has used his businesses and agricultural holdings in La Reforma, Zacapa, Guatemala as a front for the northbound movement of drugs through Guatemala," the Treasury said.

The designation freezes any of their assets under U.S. jurisdiction and follows a similar move in 2010 to sanction Lorenzana Lima and three sons.

Treasury also added eight businesses to a list of drug-linked entities that U.S. persons are banned from making transactions with. The two named individuals are on that list as well.

"Today's designation of Marta Julia and Ovaldino Lorenzana Cordon, members of one of Guatemala's most significant crime families ... allows us to continue our efforts to dismantle transnational drug trafficking organizations operating in Guatemala," said Adam Smith, director of Treasury's office of Foreign Assets Control.

Treasury said the Lorenzana drug trafficking organization plays a key role in cocaine smuggling between Colombia and Mexico, using Guatemala to stage shipments, and eventually into the United States.

Guatemala authorities arrested Lorenzana Lima and one of his sons, Eliu Elixander Lorenzana Cordon, in 2011. The son also awaits extradition to the United States.

(Reporting By Alister Bull; Editing by Xavier Briand)