Journalist says the AMLO government is paying millions of pesos a month to a company linked to the Sinaloa Cartel

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Anabel Hernández García

Anabel Hernández García is a Mexican journalist who has collaborated for major media outlets such as Milenio, El Universal, Reporte Índigo, Emeequis, the Reforma newspaper, and the political magazine Proceso. In December 2000, her father was kidnapped and murdered, she became an activist ever since. Hernández García won the 2002 and 2020 National Journalism Awards.

The following is Hernández García investigation as published by Deutsche Welle:

The president of Mexico, AMLO, was able to cancel the construction of an international airport, but instead has maintained contracts with companies exposed by the United States government, says Anabel Hernández.

From December 18, 2018, to June 21, 2021, the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador has paid 22.48 million pesos to the company Estancia Infantil Niño Feliz S.C. linked to drug trafficker Ismael Zambada García alias “El Mayo”, leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, and his family, which has been listed since 2007 to date on the list Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the Department of the Treasury of the government of the United States as part of the financial operators and businesses used by the Sinaloa Cartel to launder money or hide profits of illegal origin.


The contract signed between the AMLO government and the company, in force at least until December 2021, was recognized by the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS) through a request for information that was formulated based on the Federal Law of Transparency and Access to public information.

The IMSS gave me the list of the payments made to said company in the period indicated above with each of the pages of the invoices, the specific amounts, the date of issue and the date of payment. The document provided by the government is added below:

List of IMSS payments to a company linked to the Zambada family (Estancia Infantil Niño Feliz S.C.)

Zambada García heads the Sinaloa Cartel, one of the most powerful drug trafficking organizations in the world, which has operations in more than sixty percent of the planet. While the AMLO government paid millions to the company linked to the drug trafficker, in September 2021 the United States government increased the reward for anyone who helps capture “El Mayo” from 5 to 15 million US dollars.

López Obrador, who calls his government the Fourth Transformation, constantly claims to be different and to have put an end to the vices and complicities of the past. He has publicly claimed the complicity of former officials with drug trafficking organizations and has even stated that it is impossible that former presidents were unaware of such complicity. However, his government continued to make the same millionaire payments that the governments of Vicente Fox, Felipe Calderón, and Enrique Peña Nieto made to the company linked to the Sinaloa Cartel.

The company

The civil society Estancia Infantil Niño Feliz was created in Culiacán, Sinaloa, on August 2, 2001, with public deed 10131, before the Notary Public José Antonio Núñez Bedoya, who has helped “El Mayo” Zambada to create most of the companies that according to the United States government are part of El Mayo’s criminal network.

It should be remembered that the US has prosecuted three sons of “El Mayo”: Vicente Zambada Niebla, Serafín Zambada Ortiz and Ismael Zambada Imperial; and his brother Jesús Zambada García.

According to the content of the deed of which I have a copy and which is cited as the document that gives legal certainty of the company to the contract and agreements with the IMSS, the partners are: María Teresa Zambada Niebla, daughter of the couple formed by the drug trafficker “El Mayo” Zambada and Rosario Niebla Cardoza. All three were bulletined by the Treasury Department as part of the Sinaloa Cartel criminal network.

Pages of the agreement between the IMSS and Estancia Infantil Niño Feliz SC, published by the United States

The children of María Teresa are also listed as partners in the deed: Mayte Diaz Zambada, Javier Ernesto Diaz Zambada and Rosa María Zazueta Zambada.

María Teresa Zambada Niebla is the eldest daughter of the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel and is a central figure in practically all the companies linked to the drug boss: Nueva Industria de Ganaderos de Culiacán, Establo Puerto Rico, Autotransportes JYM, and Jamaro Constructores, among others.

The company was established to carry out 21 different activities (corporate purpose), “predominantly economic in nature”, as stated in the document. One of the activities is: “Provision of professional care and teaching services to children who have not reached the age to access preschool education, as well as teaching and teaching children, young people, adults and the elderly in education. preschool, primary, secondary, university education, postgraduate and master’s degrees (…) in order to strengthen the intellectual, moral and social training of students…”. This is still ironic in the case of a company related to a transnational drug trafficking organization.

The millionaire payments in the past and in the present

According to the documents and public historical records that exist, the government of Vicente Fox was the first to award contracts to this company to subrogate the childcare service to workers insured by the IMSS, despite the fact that “El Mayo” Zambada was clearly identified by the then-Attorney General’s Office as a member of the Sinaloa Cartel and there were arrest warrants against him and against Joaquín Guzmán Loera “El Chapo” one of his main partners. And despite the fact that his then-wife Rosario Niebla Cardoso was also mentioned in previous investigations.

The first contract of which I have a copy was assigned by the Fox government in November 2001, a few months after the company was established. According to the government procurement system COMPRANET, in 2002 and 2003 the Fox government renewed the contract and paid him 11.5 million pesos.

Pages of the agreement between the IMSS and Estancia Infantil Niño Feliz SC

Mexiko Zahlungen IMSS | mutmaßliche Schmiergeldzahlungen

The nursery provides its services at Avenida Manuel Vallarta 2141, Colonia Centro, in Culiacán, Sinaloa. And according to that first contract, the owner of the premises is Rosario Niebla Cardoza, who in turn has a lease signed with Estancia Infantil Niño Feliz. While El Mayo’s daughter receives public resources from the IMSS, she shares them with her mother.

From December 1, 2018, to December 2019, 9.6 million pesos were paid to “the company”. From January 2020 to December 2020, 8.64 million pesos were paid. And from January 2021 to June 2021 – the date on which I made the request for information – 4.24 million pesos were delivered. The average annual amount paid in Q4 is higher than the average annual amount paid in the past six-year terms.

Mexiko Zahlungen IMSS | mutmaßliche Schmiergeldzahlungen

Mexiko Zahlungen IMSS | mutmaßliche Schmiergeldzahlungen

In October 2021, the Treasury Department of the United States Government published an updated list of people and companies that are identified as members of criminal organizations or as part of money laundering structures of said organizations. On the list are “El Mayo” Zambada, his daughter María Teresa Zambada Niebla, Rosario Niebla Cardoza and Estancia Infantil Niño Feliz.

Source: Deutsche Welle

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