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 Treasury Designates Los Chatas for Narcotics Trafficking and Violence In Support Of La Oficina De Envigado


12/10/2015
 
Action Also Targets Three Leaders and One Business Tied to Los Chatas
 
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today designated the criminal subgroup known as Los Chatas, which operates under the umbrella of Colombian criminal group La Oficina de Envigado (La Oficina) and is based in Bello, Colombia.  OFAC also designated three Colombian nationals identified as leaders of Los Chatas and top lieutenants or associates of Juan Carlos Mesa Vallejo (a.k.a. “Tom”), who is believed to be among the current leadership of La Oficina, as well as one related company in Colombia.  Today’s OFAC designation was taken in close coordination with the Drug Enforcement Administration. All designations were made pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act).  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. 
 
“The powerful Los Chatas engages in drug trafficking and an array of violent crimes such as extortion, murder, and theft on behalf of La Oficina de Envigado,” said Acting OFAC Director John E. Smith.  “Treasury will continue to target those who fuel La Oficina de Envigado’s illegal drug trade and brutal violence.”
 
OFAC designated La Oficina 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.  Mesa Vallejo was designated on September 16, 2014 for his role in La Oficina.  Mesa Vallejo’s criminal subgroup, Los Chatas, designated today, operates within the larger criminal structure of La Oficina.  The three individuals designated today are lieutenants or partners of Mesa Vallejo and play leadership roles in Los Chatas: Edison Maya Rios (a.k.a. “Gomelo”); Geova Buritica Hincapie (a.k.a. “Camilo Chata” or “Mi Viejo”); and Jorge Oswaldo Zapata Berrio (a.k.a. “Jonas”).  The company Motos Y Repuestos Jota, a motorcycle repair business registered to Zapata Berrio and located in Medellin, Colombia, was also designated today. 
 
Since June 2000 more than 1,800 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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