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Washington, DC-- The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today named Fabio Enrique Ochoa Vasco (a.k.a."Carlos Mario"), a major Medellin-based drug trafficker, as a principal individual on its list of Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers (SDNTs). At the same time, OFAC designated 45 companies and 64 individuals in Ochoa Vasco's extensive criminal and financial network, across Colombia, Belize, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, and Panama.
"Fabio Enrique Ochoa Vasco is the head of one of the most powerful Medellin-based drug trafficking organizations today," said OFAC Director Adam J. Szubin. "Our action today strikes at his massive financial empire with the aim of depriving him of the benefit of his criminal activities."
This action is part of an ongoing interagency effort to implement Executive Order 12978 (October 21, 1995), which applies economic sanctions against Colombia's drug cartels. This effort includes the Departments of the Treasury, Justice, State and Homeland Security. Today's designation action freezes any assets the designees may have subject to U.S. jurisdiction, and prohibits all financial and commercial transactions by any U.S. person with the designated companies and individuals. This is OFAC's first designation of a significant narcotics trafficker operating out of Medellin, Colombia since the issuance of E.O. 12978 in October 1995.
Fabio Enrique Ochoa Vasco and twelve other individuals were charged with cocaine trafficking in a September 2004 U.S. federal indictment in the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division. OFAC has worked closely over the past three years with Operation Panama Express on the investigation of Fabio Enrique Ochoa Vasco and his organization. Operation Panama Express is an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Strike Force investigation conducted by ICE, DEA, FBI, IRS, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Tampa, Middle District of Florida. The investigation was also supported by the ICE Attaché - Bogotá, DEA Cartagena, Colombia Resident Office and DEA Belize Country Office. The U.S. government is offering up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest of Fabio Enrique Ochoa Vasco.
"ICE is proud of our investigative partnership with other Panama Express member agencies and our contribution to this OFAC case." said Julie L. Myers, DHS Assistant Secretary for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. "By freezing their assets, we will continue to shut down the ability of drug kingpins like Fabio Enrique Ochoa Vasco to conduct their illegal businesses."
Fabio Enrique Ochoa Vasco has been involved in narcotics trafficking activities from Colombia to the United States since at least 1981. Ochoa Vasco participated in narcotics trafficking with key figures in Colombia's Medellin Cartel such as Luis Fernando Galeano Berrio, Gerardo "Kike" Moncada, Diego Fernando Murillo Bejarano (a.k.a. "Don Berna"), and kingpin Pablo Escobar Gaviria.
The network of 45 Ochoa Vasco businesses designated today includes Duratex S.A., a Colombian carpet/textile company located in Bogota, Colombia; Inversiones y Representaciones S.A. ( IRSA), a real estate firm in Medellin, Colombia; Florida Soccer Club S.A. in Itagui, Antioquia, Colombia; Hotel La Cascada S.A., a hotel in Girardot, Colombia; Yamaha Veranillo Distribuidores, a marina in Barranquilla, Colombia; and a network of real estate firms - Inversiones MPS S.A., Proyectos y Soluciones S.A., Proyectos y Soluciones Inmobiliaria Ltda., and Gerencia de Proyectos y Soluciones Ltda. - located in Bogota, Colombia. OFAC also designated Duratex S.A. front companies located in Ecuador ( Comercializadora Mor Gaviria S.A. and Comercializadora Mordur S.A.), Guatemala ( Overseas Trading Company), and Mexico ( MC Overseas Trading Company S.A. de C.V). A clothing store, Lizzy Mundo Interior, in Guadalajara, Mexico was also named.
The OFAC action targeted seven key financial managers for Fabio Enrique Ochoa Vasco, including Jaime Dib Mor Saab, Jorge Ernesto Caicedo Rojas, Gustavo Alberto Pabon Alvarado, Silvio Yepes Velez, Jhon Jairo Castrillon Vasco, Fernando Maldonado Escobar, and Gabriel Andres Calvo Lombana, as well as three Mexican financial associates, Porfirio Miguel Cadenas Viramontes, Luis Pacheco Mejia, and Gloria Elisa Briseno Mar. In addition, important criminal associates of Fabio Enrique Ochoa Vasco were named, including John Jairo Gallego Valencia, Miyer Alberto Garcia Buitrago, Victor Hugo Castro Garzon, Carlos Heneris Varela Serna and Ricardo Castro Garzon.
The assets of a total of 1,477 business and individuals in Aruba, Barbados, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Spain, Vanuatu, Venezuela, the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, and the United States have been designated pursuant to E.O. 12978. The 570 SDNT businesses include agricultural, aviation, consulting, construction, distribution, financial, hotel, investment, manufacturing, maritime, mining, offshore, pharmaceutical, real estate, retail, service, sporting, telecommunication, and textile firms. The SDNT list now includes 22 kingpins from the Cali, Medellin, North Valle, and NorthCoast drug trafficking organizations in Colombia.
For a complete list of the individuals and entities designated today, please visit: http://www.treasury.gov/offices/enforcement/ofac/actions/index.shtml.