Mexican drug dealer Polo Ochoa linked to money laundering in Dubai

Ochoa Juárez is one of the Mexicans included in the Sandcastles: Tracing Sanctions Evasion Through Dubai’s Luxury Real Estate Market report
Mexican drug dealer Polo Ochoa linked to money laundering in Dubai
On April 2012, the American Treasury Department reported Hassein Eduardo, his father Ezio Benjamín Figueroa Vázquez, and a network of 16 companies for being the main suppliers of ephedrine for the Sinaloa and Jalisco - Photo: Rashide Frías/CUARTOSCURO.COM
10/07/2018
20:45
Newsroom
Mexico City
Martín Durán
-A +A

One of the three Mexicans involved in the creation of investment firms in Dubai and Cyprus was shot to death during the prime of his career along with two of his bodyguards in the city of Culiacán, on December 2012, which sparked a grueling search for those responsible, according to the government of Sinaloa, Mexico.

His name was Leopoldo Ochoa Juárez, 36, born in Tepuche, in northern Sinaloa. He had a house at Colinas de San Miguel, one of the most luxurious neighborhoods in Culiacán.

Ochoa Juárez is one of the Mexicans included in the Sandcastles: Tracing Sanctions Evasion Through Dubai’s Luxury Real Estate Market report, issued by the private intelligence company Center for Advanced Defense Studies (C4ADS), based in Washington. He was one of the main partners in a corporate network with deep connections to Dubai and Cyprus, both of which are known to be used by commercial tycoons for money laundering.

The other two partners of the seven companies that have been identified are Hassein Eduardo Figueroa Gómez, a majority shareholder for all companies, and Rodrigo Romero Mena, partner in six of them. Some of these companies have remained 100% active, while others have been inactive for years. However, they all worked as a means to invest capital in Dubai and Cyprus at some point, due to both cities’ lax financial systems.

On April 2012, the American Treasury Department reported Hassein Eduardo, his father Ezio Benjamín Figueroa Vázquez, and a network of 16 companies for being the main suppliers of ephedrine for the Sinaloa and Jalisco Nueva Generación cartels in Mexico. A few months before, on September 2011, Ezio Benjamín was arrested in Mexico and later extradited to the state of Virginia, where he is undergoing a legal process for money laundering and trafficking of illegal substances from Europe and Africa. On his part, Hassein Eduardo is still at large with an international search warrant.

The companies owned by Hassein Eduardo are Maestro Investment LLC, Sona Valley & Diamonds LLC, México Lindo Trading LLC, Greenfield Studios Ltd, as well as Erognas Trading Ltd., Forcata Holdings, Ltd., and Río Timto Ltd. Ochoa Juárez participated in three of them. According to C4ADS’ report, these are mostly retail, investment, and glass companies. Hassein Eduardo had three properties in Dubai: One was worth 1.1 million dollars, another was a 2.7 million dollar penthouse, and the last was worth 677 thousand dollars.

But while Hassein Eduardo did his best to stay off the Mexican authorities’ radar following his father’s arrest, Polo Ochoa was calmly driving through Culiacán in a white GMC Sierra SUV. According to sources involved in the case, Polo managed to escape the world of organized crime for a few years, with the help of Ismael Zambada García, “El Mayo,” and Juan José Esparragoza Moreno, “El Azul,” who were also his business partners.

Guadalajara, Zapopan, and Culiacán had become his favorite places for business and leisure, though occasionally, he would travel to distant countries in order to “close deals” with “arabian princes,” as the song called “Polo Ochoa” goes, mentioning the way he sold “ephedrine and LSD.”

On the afternoon of Friday, 8 April 2012, Polo Ochoa was driving through the streets of Culiacán in company of his escorts Ramón Aispuro Heredia and José Leobardo Gurrola Quiroz when they were intercepted and shot to death by gunmen riding in four Toyota vehicles.

Polo’s van ended up on the side of the road while Gurrola Quiroz’s Cherokee nearly crashed a house, though he didn’t have time to shoot back.

Sources from the ministerial police indicated that Ochoa Juárez’s family offered a 50 million pesos bounty for the perpetrators.

The case of Ochoa Juárez and his partners shows that criminal organizations in Mexico have become more than just intermediaries in the drug trade with countries such as the United States. Over the last 20 years, they have grown stronger and expanded their financial and supply networks to several continents. There are currently 50 jurisdictions involved in money laundering cases related to Mexican drug cartels.
 

Artículo

Mexican drug lords invest in Dubai

A Mexican businessman, accused of smuggling chemical precursors for methamphetamine production, exploited the weak laws of the United Arab Emirates to consolidate his business
Mexican drug lords invest in DubaiMexican drug lords invest in Dubai

According to the Legislative Investigation Service of the U.S. Congress, the Sinaloa cartel, with 3 billion dollars in annual revenue, “has a substantial presence in at least 50 countries” in America, Europe, Eastern Africa, and Southeast Asia. It specializes in drug smuggling from Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia, as well as substances produced in Mexico, such as cocaine, heroine, methamphetamine, and marihuana, most of which are exported for sale in the United States.

The U.S. Treasury has also considered that the Jalisco Nueva Generación cartel is one of the “most violent and prolific drug trade organizations in the world,” operating in America, Asia, and Europe. The report shows that the criminal organization is responsible for cocaine and methamphetamine distribution in a “6,213 mile radius off the Pacific coast, operating from the Southern Cone all the way to the U.S. and Canada.”

The Belgian press has pointed out that Ezio Benjamin Figueroa Vázquez “allegedly convinced Belgian pharmaceutical manufacturers,” to sell him four tons of ephedrine for nearly 360 million dollars, which he later used to produce crystal methamphetamine for sale on the black market in the United States.

The illegal movements were detected by Belgian customs and police. The companies pleaded not guilty, stating that they acted “in good faith,” and that they were “unaware” of the ephedrine’s final destination, according to a statement by Sterop, one of the companies accused, after having a large shipment seized at the Brussels International Airport.

However, the prosecutor argued that some of the company’s e-mails and phone conversations had been traced, proving that the firms had in fact acted deliberately.

dm

Mantente al día con el boletín de El Universal

 

COMENTARIOS