U.S. sanctions logistics allies of Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel

Recaptured drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is escorted by soldiers at the hangar belonging to the office of the Attorney General in Mexico City, Mexico January 8, 2016. REUTERS/Henry Romero/File Photo

MEXICO CITY, Oct 19 (Reuters) - The U.S. Treasury Department on Wednesday sanctioned individuals linked to Mexico's powerful Sinaloa drug cartel, days after bilateral security talks aimed at cracking down on trafficking of fentanyl and other contraband.

The Treasury said Juan Francisco Valenzuela and his family-run drug organization are accused of transporting "multi-ton quantities of illicit drugs" into the United States, and operating under the aegis of the Sinaloa Cartel long run by notorious kingpin Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman.

The Treasury also sanctioned group members Hector Alfonso Araujo Peralta and Raul Rivas Chaires, alongside three Mexico-based transportation firms accused of facilitating their activity.

It said all individuals named were currently fugitives from U.S. federal drug trafficking indictments.

"The Valenzuela drug trafficking organization fuels the ongoing drug epidemic we face in the United States which has resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans annually," said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian E. Nelson.

"Starving this network of resources will help deprive the Sinaloa Cartel of critical support it needs."

Stamping out the drug trade was high on the agenda at last week's bilateral security talks between the United States and Mexico, attended by Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

"We're going to take on fentanyl with full force," Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said this week.

The Treasury made a nod to its collaboration with the Mexican government in its statement.

Two Valenzuela siblings were detained in recent years, leaving Juan Francisco as the last sibling involved in the Valenzuela Mexican trafficking operations, the Treasury noted.

All Valenzuela's property and assets in the United States have now been frozen.

Reporting by Isabel Woodford; Editing by Andrea Ricci

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