In business, it’s not always what you do but who you know, and being associated with the wrong folks can have dire consequences. 20 firms – and one individual – found this out the hard way when the U.S. Treasury Department blacklisted them because of their associations.

In this case, the companies were sanctioned due to their links to drug trafficker Carlos Qunitero, who is based in the Guadalajara area. According to a statement by the Treasury Department, the companies are involved in businesses ranging from real estate to gasoline to fertilizers and pesticides.

The individual who was sanctioned by the Treasury is Juan Carlos Soto Ruiz, a native of the Guadalajara area who is involved in the management of six of the sanctioned companies. 

Quintero was sentenced to 40 years in prison in 1985. While in prison, he continued to work with drug traffickers through the use of family members and contacts. In August of 2013, Quintero was released from prison with 12 years left on his sentence and remains at large.

“Today’s designation demonstrates the enormous extent to which Rafael Caro Quintero and his family members have infiltrated the economy in Guadalajara, Mexico, including the real estate and gasoline retail sectors,” said Treasury’s Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Adam J. Szubin, in a statement.  “With Caro Quintero on the run, OFAC will continue to work with the DEA and our Mexican counterparts to expand the sanctions against any person or entity that acts on behalf of this murderous criminal.”   


For more information on the U.S. Treasury Department, check out the links below:

Treasury helps foreign financial institutions prepare for FATCA

Caesars Entertainment faces money laundering probe

Wire fraud occurrences on the rise