Abel Briones Ruiz, the Gulf Cartel trafficker disguised as a gas station owner

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MX
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Abel Briones Ruiz, the Gulf Cartel trafficker disguised as a gas station owner

MX
This post was updated on .
Note: As some of you may know, I'm working on Gulf Cartel / Zetas biographies on Wikipedia. Now is Abiel Briones Ruiz, article I created on 18 December 2019. He is alleged by the U.S. government of drug trafficking and money laundering through a gas transportation company in Matamoros. There were some updates on him in 2019, so I thought I'd share here.



Background

In the last 15 years, the U.S. government has blacklisted nearly 20 gas stations in Mexico for serving as money laundering fronts for organized crime groups. Many more, however, are still operating and have contractual and financial ties to Pemex, Mexico's state-owned oil company. One of them was Combustibles Briones, S.A. de C.V., a gas transportation company based in Matamoros, Tamaulipas. This company is owned by Abel Briones Ruiz (born 31 October 1973), a Mexican business owner and suspected trafficker of the Gulf Cartel.

According to an indictment filed by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in 2014, Briones Ruiz and his network conspired to smuggle with intent to distribute over 5 kg (11 lb) of cocaine from Mexico to the U.S. between 1 January 2005 and 22 October 2014. His network used Combustibles Briones, S.A. de C.V. to launder the Gulf Cartel's proceeds in Mexico and the U.S., where they deposited some of their earnings in Texan bank accounts. They bought multiple properties in Texas but U.S. authorities did not confirm how many. Most of the properties were seized by the U.S. Department of Justice as part of this investigation. Investigators stated that Briones Ruiz is the head of the criminal network and uses his family to further the Gulf Cartel's operations.

What is also interesting about his operations is that he does not fall under the normal Gulf Cartel criminal "hierarchy". He runs a international drug trafficking ring with his family, but uses the Gulf Cartel's brand name (likely by paying a tax, "piso", to move narcotics through their corridors). This is a common modus operandi for Mexican criminal groups, but it is not well studied and is oftentimes not clearly understood. It also poses a difficult challenge for security forces. Since these criminals are not part of the official cartel hierarchy, it makes the cartel harder to tackle as a whole. It also helps reduce the liability of plaza bosses by allowing independent traffickers from moving contraband through their turf.

Economic sanctions

On 21 May 2015, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), a branch of the United States Department of the Treasury, sanctioned Briones Ruiz under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act ("Kingpin Act") for providing support to the international operations of the Gulf Cartel. He was designated as a Specially Designated Narcotics Trafficker (SDNT). As part of the sanction, the U.S. government prohibited U.S. citizens from engaging in business activities with him and his company, and froze all of their U.S.-based assets. According to the OFAC, Briones Ruiz and his collaborators were responsible for smuggling cocaine shipments from Mexico to the U.S. Southwestern border. The drugs were distributed in U.S. states of Texas and Tennessee. The earnings generated by their drug operations were smuggled back into Mexico by Briones Ruiz's network.

On 10 July 2019, Mexico's Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF) informed the Attorney General's Office (FGR) of the existence of eight gas stations that were suspected of being involved in money laundering. Among them was Combustibles Briones, S.A. de C.V. The UIF highlighted that Briones Ruiz's company was sanctioned by the OFAC years back. In order to limit their suspected laundering activities, the Mexican government froze all Mexican bank accounts owned by Briones Ruiz, his sister and that of Combustibles Briones, S.A. de C.V. In the report, the UIF noted that another of the sanctioned gas companies, KNG Ultra S.A. de C.V. (also known as Ultragas México), made business transactions with Combustibles Briones, S.A. de C.V.

Status and whereabouts

A fugitive of U.S. justice, Briones Ruiz faces up to life imprisonment and up to US$10 million in fines from his drug trafficking activities alone. Briones Ruiz has an outstanding arrest warrant for his arrest in the U.S.; they have not issued a formal extradition request. His family and him were all born in Matamoros, and it is likely he still there.

Sources and notes

Wikipedia article is under free domain
Multiple sources used, see here

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Re: Abel Briones Ruiz, the Gulf Cartel trafficker disguised as a gas station owner

MellowYellow
Why was El Concord so important to the zetas? Why did El metro 3 lill him?
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Re: Abel Briones Ruiz, the Gulf Cartel trafficker disguised as a gas station owner

MellowYellow
In reply to this post by MX
Im talking about El Concord 3 the one whos death caused gulf cartel zeta war.. Not the other el concord.
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Re: Abel Briones Ruiz, the Gulf Cartel trafficker disguised as a gas station owner

Nutcase
Good question, I see a lot of info on El Concorde, Sergio pena Mendoza but Just as much have that same name for Concorde3. They said he became plaza boss in Reynosa when El Hummer Jamie Duran was arrested, and he was also Z40s good friend and that maybe he had lots of family in N.L.
Seeing is believing