10:02 | Lima, Feb. 11 (ANDINA).
The U.S. Treasury on Tuesday designated 26 companies and 14 individuals tied to Peruvian drug kingpin Fernando Zevallos Gonzales.
Gonzales, currently imprisoned in Peru, has been a major figure in Peruvian narcotics trafficking activities since 1980. On June 1, 2004, President George Bush named Gonzales as a significant foreign narcotics trafficker pursuant to the Kingpin Act.
At the same time, Treasury blocked, pending investigation, six companies and six individuals, including the Peruvian airline Aerocontinente S.A, RTT News reported.
On November 10, 2004, the department formally designated Aerocontinente S.A., which subsequently changed its name to Nuevo Continente S.A.
Finally, on July 27, 2007, Gonzales was indicted on money laundering and multiple violations of the Kingpin Act.
Despite Gonzales's imprisonment, Treasury sanctions investigation found that his financial network has continued to function under the leadership of key family members and close business associates.
The financial network designated today principally consists of aviation and travel companies in Peru, including four air transportation service companies, three travel agencies, two aviation cleaning service companies and two printing press companies.
Additionally, the department investigation targeted key offshore companies in Panama and the British Virgin Islands that supported the Fernando Zevallos financial network.
The actions taken today freeze any assets the designated individuals may have under US jurisdiction and prohibits US persons from conducting financial or commercial transactions involving those assets.
"Our action demonstrates the importance of following the changing networks of major drug kingpins, like Fernando Zevallos," said department official Adam Szubin.
"This designation identifies additional front companies and supports the Peruvian authorities' ongoing efforts to shut down the Fernando Zevallos criminal organization."