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Anti-cartel war: Mexico freezes 2,000 bank accounts

Mexico’s Financial Intelligence Unit says it has directed banks to freeze nearly 2,000 accounts allegedly linked to the powerful Jalisco New Generation Cartel.

It is the latest sign of Mexico’s commitment to step up its fight against organised crime after US President Donald Trump backed off from his threat to designate Mexican cartels as terrorist groups.

The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) considers the cartel, known under the Spanish acronym CJNG, as one of the most prolific drug trafficking organisations in the world. DEA accuses CJNG and others of flooding the US market with methamphetamine.

“The operation is the result of the joint work carried out by the institutions that make up the security cabinet … over several months,” Reuters quoted a statement by the Mexican unit as saying.

The unit, a part of the finance ministry tasked with combating and preventing money laundering, said it managed to have 1,770 bank accounts of individuals frozen, as well as 167 for companies and two trusts linked to the CJNG.

While it did not disclose the amount held in the frozen accounts, it said it analyzed thousands of unusual transactions.

Mexican officials had collaborated with the DEA which made it possible to find “a large number of members of said criminal group, as well as its largest financial operators and companies used in money laundering”, the statement said.

In February, Mexico extradited Ruben Oseguera, son of the cartel’s top boss, Nemesio Oseguera, to the US. In a fresh blow a month later, US authorities arrested more than 250 people linked to the cartel.

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