The United States is taking action
against three Mexican drug cartels. The news comes as President Barack Obama
prepares to travel to Mexico on Thursday for talks with President Felipe
The drug-related violence
plaguing Mexico, particularly along the U.S. border, is likely to dominate the
discussions in Mexico City.
President Obama has praised
efforts by the Mexican government to stand up to the drug cartels. And on the
eve of the talks, he showed America's commitment to do the same.
three Mexican groups to the U.S. government's blacklist of drug
White House spokesman Robert
Gibbs made the official announcement.
"Earlier today, the president designated three Mexican
organizations under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act. The three
organizations are the Sinaloa cartel, Los Zetas and La Familia Michoacana," he
Gibbs said the move
underscores America's intent to attack the financial underpinnings of the
Mexican drug cartels, which generate billions of dollars in revenue each
He said the Treasury
Department now has the authority to block or seize any assets, accounts or
securities under U.S. jurisdiction held by these organizations or anyone acting
on their behalf.
Usually, the White House puts
out an annual list of suspected drug kingpins on or about June 1, as required by
law. But Gibbs said the president had the right to act now to sanction these
three Mexican groups because the need is urgent.
"That is the case today. And it is the first time any president
has acted outside the June 1 time frame," he said.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration has picked a
former federal prosecutor to coordinate efforts to end drug violence along the
U.S.-Mexico border and slow the tide of illegal immigration.
Alan Bersin worked at the Justice Department in the 1990s and
led a government crackdown on illegal immigrants at the California-Mexico
border, known as Operation Gatekeeper.