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The U.S. Treasury announced Wednesday that it has frozen the assets of an alleged drug-trafficking organization that distributes large quantities of heroin in the United States, including in Salt Lake City.
Mexican national Jose Luis Ruelas Torres and the Ruelas Torres Drug Trafficking Organization have been identified as significant foreign narcotics traffickers under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, according to a news release from the treasury department. In addition, 10 key associates of the organization have been designated as specially designated narcotics traffickers, the release says.
The Treasury Department describes the Ruelas Torres organization as a "major contributor to our nation's heroin epidemic" and says the family-based group smuggles multi-kilogram quantities of the drug from Mexico into the United States.
Other cities where the organization allegedly distributes heroin include Phoenix, Denver, Albuquerque, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Columbus, Detroit and New York City.
In addition to freezing all assets of the organization and designated people that are in the United States or under their control, Wednesday's action also bars Americans from entering into transactions with them.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Mexican government worked closely with the department to implement the freeze.