Yesterday the U.S. government through the Treasury Department designated several individuals and businesses associated with Mexican narcos Los Gueros. On that list was tequila maker El Viejo Luis from Jalisco, Mexico.
Based in Guadalajara, Mexico, Los Gueros are responsible for smuggling tons of coke from Colombia and Peru to the U.S. and Europe. Reports estimate the cartel shipped more than 100 tons of coke into the U.S. between 1996 through 2008. They were once aligned with the Sinaloa cartel but now allied with the ruthless Los Zetas. In March, 2011 Los Gueros leader Esteban Rodriguez-Olivera, 47, was extradited from Mexico to the U.S.
Tequila El Viejo Luis is fairly new, bottling since 2005 and first imported to the U.S. in 2009. However Casa Viejo Luis has been growing agaves for other tequila makers since the 1920’s. They are Mexico’s third largest agave producer. The company also distributes it tequila in Europe and South Africa.
The tequila maker offers the following tequilas: El Viejo Luis Silver, El Viejo Luis Aged, and El Viejo Luis Añejo.
The U.S. government alleges El Viejo is owned and/or controlled by narcos. The tequila maker is suspected of laundering Los Gueros illicit proceeds.
As a result of the “Foreign Narcotics Kingpin” designation El Viejo Luis has been given Americans are prohibited from doing business with them, which means no one can buy their products, import or distribute them. In addition their assets will be frozen in the U.S.
This is one of the most high profile businesses the U.S. government has ever targeted from Mexico.