The US Treasury Department building is seen in Washington on January 19, 2023.
CNN  — 

The Biden administration has sanctioned eight Mexican companies it says are involved in a timeshare fraud scheme benefiting the Jalisco cartel, a notorious drug organization that the US government says traffics a “significant proportion” of the illegal fentanyl and other drugs that enter the US.

According to the US Treasury, who coordinated with the Mexican government, the perpetrators of the fraud have “at times” falsely claimed to represent US government entities. Thursday’s sanctions were accompanied by an alert issued by the Office of Foreign Assets Control in order to “make the public aware of telephone, email, and letter scams involving individuals falsely claiming to represent OFAC and requesting payments.” OFAC does not collect this type of payment from the public.

“As CJNG [Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion] has consolidated territory over the past decade, it has added other crimes to its core activity of drug trafficking,” OFAC director Andrea Gacki said in a statement.

“In tourist destinations such as Puerto Vallarta, CJNG has become heavily engaged in timeshare fraud, which often targets U.S. citizens. This crime, which can defraud victims of their life savings, results in another significant revenue stream for the cartel and strengthens its overall criminal enterprise. Today’s action exposes this CJNG scheme and also serves as a warning to potential victims, many of whom are elderly,” she added.

The Jalisco New Generation cartel, which reportedly provided security for the Sinaloa cartel before splintering off, is considered by the Drug Enforcement Agency to be a top US threat and the best-armed criminal group in Mexico, according to a report from the Congressional Research Service.

The eight companies sanctioned on Thursday all claim to either be financial services or real estate firms and are either based in Puerta Vallarta or Guadalajara, according to the Treasury. The eight companies are Servicios Administrativos Fordtwoo, S.A. de C.V., Integracion Badeva, S.A. de C.V., JM Providers Office, S.A. de C.V., Promotora Vallarta One, S.A. de C.V., and Recservi, S.A. de C.V, Corporativo Title I, S.A. de C.V., Corporativo TS Business Inc, S.A. de C.V., and TS Business Corporativo, S.A. de C.V.

Treasury has previously sanctioned entities related to the cartel and individuals critical to its operations.

Last week, the US government also took action against a network of Sinaloa Cartel members and associated entities for their involvement in providing chemicals to “super labs” that produce illicit drugs like fentanyl and methamphetamine for the cartel once run by the notorious drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán.