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 Treasury Designates Criminal Financiers, Drug Traffickers, Collaborators, and a Company Aligned with Colombia’s La Oficina de Envigado


6/24/2015


Action Also Targets a Top Criminal Liaison between La Oficina and Los Urabeños
 
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated four Colombian nationals, identified as criminal financiers, narcotics traffickers, or collaborators aligned with the Colombian criminal group La Oficina de Envigado (La Oficina), as well as one related company in Colombia, pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act).  Also designated today pursuant to the Kingpin Act is a top criminal liaison to La Oficina for the criminal group Los Urabeños, also called Clan Usuga.  As a result of today’s action, all assets of those designated that are based in the United States or are in control of U.S. persons are frozen, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.  

“La Oficina and Clan Usuga rely on powerful narcotics traffickers like those targeted today, who provide funding in exchange for protection for their narcotics trafficking and other criminal activities,” said John E. Smith, Acting Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control.  “We have found that one of the most effective ways to weaken these influential criminal groups is by isolating their supporters from the U.S. economy.”

OFAC designated La Oficina de Envigado as a Specially Designated Narcotics Trafficker pursuant to the Kingpin Act on June 26, 2014.  In addition to its direct involvement in narcotics trafficking, La Oficina is complicit in a variety of illicit activities including money laundering, extortion, and murder for hire.  Today’s action is the fifth OFAC action targeting La Oficina.  Among the individuals targeted for sanctions today are three criminal financiers and narcotics traffickers, Reinaldo Ochoa Mesa (a.k.a. “Natilla”), Juan Santiago Gallon Henao, and Pedro David Gallon Henao.  The careers of these long-time drug traffickers have focused on sponsoring the illicit activities of La Oficina.  Another individual, Hugo Humberto Giraldo Ochoa, assists in laundering the illicit assets of La Oficina.  The agricultural company Semillanos S.A., based in Cerete, Cordoba, Colombia, is also targeted by OFAC as it is owned or controlled by Reinaldo Ochoa Mesa. 
 
Also designated today by OFAC is Octavio Cartagena Benitez (a.k.a. “Don Gabriel” or “Gabriel Paraco”), who is a primary liaison to La Oficina for Clan Usuga.  A truce between La Oficina and Clan Usuga established a power-sharing agreement for criminal activity in Medellin in 2013.  Cartagena Benitez works with La Oficina counterpart Juan Carlos Mesa Vallejo (a.k.a. “Tom”), who was designated by OFAC on September 16, 2014, to maintain La Oficina’s power- sharing agreement with Clan Usuga.  The President identified the group under its formal name Los Urabeños as a significant foreign narcotics trafficker pursuant to the Kingpin Act on May 31, 2013. 

Today’s OFAC designation was taken in close coordination with the Drug Enforcement Administration and Customs and Border Protection.  
 
Since June 2000 more than 1,700 individuals and entities have been named pursuant to the Kingpin Act for their role in international narcotics trafficking.  Penalties for violations of the Kingpin Act range from civil penalties of up to $1.075 million per violation to more severe criminal penalties.  Criminal penalties for corporate officers may include up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $5 million. Criminal fines for corporations may reach $10 million.  Other individuals could face up to 10 years in prison and fines pursuant to Title 18 of the United States Code for criminal violations of the Kingpin Act.
 
To see a chart relating to today’s action, click here​.  
To see the identifying information relating to today’s actions, click here.
For a complete listing of designations pursuant to the Kingpin Act, click here.
 
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