MEXICO CITY - The daughter of one of the world's most wanted criminals was just sentenced to 30 months in prison for her connection to a number of businesses linked to her father's drug cartel.
Jessica Oseguera González, alias La Negra, pleaded guilty earlier this year to violating the U.S. Kingpin Act by engaging in businesses that had been sanctioned as assets of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG for its Spanish acronym). She was arrested in February 2020.
Founded around a decade ago by her father, Nemesio Ruben Oseguera Cervantes, aka El Mencho, the CJNG has quickly grown into one of the most powerful and dangerous criminal organizations in Mexico. The CJNG is closely aligned with another cartel named Los Cuinis that is run by a group of siblings with the surname González Valencia and are also the uncles of Jessica Oseguera, who is now 34 years old. Her mother, Rosalinda González Valencia, is married to El Mencho.
Oseguera's foray into her family’s narco businesses began in September 2009, according to the government's sentencing memorandum. It started with an advertising agency, but by 2012, she had founded four other businesses in Mexico as well, including a tequila brand, a sushi restaurant, and a rental cabin business.
Those enterprises quickly came onto the radar of U.S. authorities.
In April 2015 the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned the CJNG and Los Cuinis, specifically labelling her father El Mencho and her uncle Abigael González Valencia, as foreign narcotics traffickers under the Kingpin Act.
The OFAC then hand-delivered and mailed numerous notifications about the sanctions to relatives of Oseguera, including her aunt and uncle in California, as well as to a California address that she listed on her passport request. In September of that same year the OFAC directly sanctioned the five businesses owned by Oseguera, and again contacted her to inform her, this time via four different email addresses the government found associated with her and her businesses.
Americans are prohibited from doing business with sanctioned entities. Born in California, Jessica Oseguera is a dual citizen of both Mexico and the United States.
Seemingly undeterred by the sanctions, she continued anyway.
In an apparent attempt to evade the sanctions, Oseguera dissolved the advertising company and the tequila brand also became inactive. She then changed the name of the cabin business from Las Flores Cabañas to Cabañas La Loma, and the sushi restaurant from Mizu Sushi to Kenzo Sushi. She also gave ownership of the restaurant to the sushi chefs on paper, but "continued to maintain control," the sentencing memorandum stated. The OFAC even sanctioned the chefs themselves in 2017.
Oseguera pleaded guilty, so her case did not go to trial, but in the court documents U.S. authorities alleged that they intended to show El Mencho's direct relationship with his daughter and some of the businesses. They claimed to have a witness who had seen El Mencho in 2011 "direct that certain drug accounting ledgers be provided to [Johanna Oseguera] so that she could confront a cartel member who was suspected of stealing from the cartel." The same witness saw the father and daughter together as recently as 2013, and "met with [Oseguera] and her father at a ranch concerning a discrepancy about money purportedly owed to the cartel and reflected in ledgers handled by [Oseguera]." The witness also would have testified that El Mencho "gave her the cabañas to manage."
Photo via publically available government Sentencing Memorandum
El Mencho is currently one of the most wanted fugitives in the world, with a $10 million bounty on his head. While he remains on the lam, other family members haven't been so lucky.
In 2015, El Mencho's son, Rubén Oseguera González, known as El Menchito, was arrested in the western city of Guadalajara along with Julio Alberto Rodríguez Castillo, Jessica Oseguera’s husband. While Oseguera's brother and husband would be released shortly after, they were both quickly re-arrested within a year. It's believed that her husband is still behind bars in Mexico, while her brother, El Menchito, was extradited to the U.S. in February 2020 to face drug trafficking charges.
Her brother's extradition would lead to her downfall as well.
A week after El Menchito's extradition, Oseguera travelled to the United States to visit her brother, but when she arrived at the Washington, D.C. courthouse for his hearing, she was arrested. At the time she fit all the cliches of a powerful drug cartel member, wearing a Rolex watch, a Louis Vuitton coat, with a Hermes purse and a substantial wad of cash.
While her brother pleaded not guilty and is set to go to trial later this year, Oseguera admitted to her role in the charges and expressed remorse in a letter submitted to the judge in her case.
“It has been a year and three months of learning, pain, anguish, analyzing what is good and what is not, and allowing myself to start over and live in peace,” wrote Oseguera. “I have had time to think about my actions, and I understand what I did was wrong, and I know, without hesitation, that I will never make the same mistake again.”
With time served, Oseguera could be released before the end of 2022. Her brother on the other hand, could face over a decade in prison if found guilty later this year.