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 Treasury Designates Financial Web of Colombian Drug Lords


9/14/2004

FROM THE OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS

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The U.S. Department of the Treasury today attacked the financial network of a Colombian drug cartel by designating 23 Colombian businesses and 118 individuals as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers (SDNTs). These entities were acting as fronts for the Cali drug cartel and its leaders, Miguel and Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela.

"Today's action assails the financial infrastructure of the notorious Cali drug cartel," said Stuart Levey, Treasury's Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. "We are committed to dismantling the operations of drug Kingpins and their cartels by exposing, isolating and incapacitating their agents and sham companies and by denying them access to the U.S. financial system."

These front companies and individuals form a vital part of the Rodriguez Orejuela organization's financial network in Colombia, which is centered on the drugstore chain Drogas La Rebaja and Copservir, the pharmaceutical laboratory Farmacoop and the cosmetics manufacturer Cosmepop. Today's action freezes any assets found in the United States and prohibits all financial and commercial transactions with U.S. entities.

"We continue to pursue the financial network of Miguel and Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela and their use of pharmaceutical companies and financial cooperatives in Colombia to launder drug money and infiltrate the legitimate economy," said Rick Newcomb, Director of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

Included among the 23 businesses designated today are numerous financial front companies, including Coopifarma, Farmavision, Megapharma, Litopharma, Coomulcosta, Activar, Soluciones Cooperativas, Comudrogas, Villaro, Segecol, Trimark, Su Servicio Sociedad, Arca Distribuciones, Giamx, and JyG Asesores. These entities are all affiliated with Drogas La Rebaja and Copservir, which were named to the SDNT list in 1995 and 1997, respectively. Arias Espinosa Aries S.A., a key importer of raw materials for the SDNT pharmaceutical laboratory Farmacoop, is also named.

Today's designation is a follow-up to previous actions taken by the Treasury against the world-wide financial network of the Rodriguez Orejuela organization in February, March and October 2003.

The 23 front companies named today join 379 other Colombian drug cartel businesses on the SDNT list. The list also includes the Credirebaja charge card, the America de Cali professional soccer team, the Obursatiles stock brokerage, the Internacional de Divisas money exchange house, as well as agricultural, consulting, construction, distribution, financial, investment, manufacturing, mining, real estate and service firms.

This action is part of the ongoing interagency effort of the Treasury, Justice, State and Homeland Security Departments to carry out Executive Order 12978, signed on October 21, 1995, which applies economic sanctions against Colombia's narcotics traffickers. The assets of a total of 1,094 Colombian businesses and individuals are now blocked under E.O. 12978. The SDNT list includes 14 kingpins from the North Valle, North Coast and Cali drug cartels in Colombia, including Miguel and Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela.

A diagram of the businesses named by OFAC today is attached.

For a complete list of the entities designated today, please visit: http://www.treas.gov/offices/enforcement/ofac/actions/20040914.shtml.

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For further information on actions taken against the Cali Cartel, please visit:

http://www.treas.gov/press/releases/js15.htm (February 6, 2003)

http://www.treas.gov/press/releases/js122.htm (March 21, 2003)

http://www.treas.gov/press/releases/js915.htm (October 17, 2003)

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