WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Tuesday targeted two Mexican companies, along with two Mexican men, for what it said was their role in assisting the infamous Sinaloa Cartel associated with drug lords Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman and Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada.

The U.S. Treasury Department formally identified Juan Manuel Alvarez Inzunza, whom it said was a money launderer, and Jose Olivas Chaidez, whom it said was a distributor, as specially designated narcotics traffickers for their role aiding the cartel.

The move allows any of the two men's assets in the United States to be frozen and prohibits Americans from doing business with them.

The Treasury Department also cited two companies it said were owned and controlled by Inzunza: tuna fishing company Nueva Atunera Triton and money services firm Operadora Eficaz Pegaso.  

"Inzunza is a Mexico-based money launderer and drug trafficker who provides key money laundering services to high-ranking Sinaloa Cartel members," the department said, adding that Inzunza was arrested by Mexican authorities in March.

Treasury officials said Inzunza helped Chaidez, whose trafficking operation it said distributes cocaine to Southern California, with moving millions of dollars from drug sales in the United States to Mexico and elsewhere in Central America as well as in South America.

Last month, Mexican officials arrested one of the top suspected associates of Zambada. In June, an ally of Guzman was also arrested in Mexico.

Mexico has approved the extradition of Guzman, who was the world's most wanted drug kingpin until his capture in January, to the United States.

(Reporting by Washington newsroom; Editing by Dan Grebler)