Action Targets Colombian Drug
Trafficking Organization Tied to the FARC
WASHINGTON – The
U.S. Department of the Treasury today announced the designation of Colombian
national Jose Evaristo Linares Castillo as a Specially Designated Narcotics
Trafficker (SDNT) pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act
(Kingpin Act). Jose Evaristo Linares
Castillo leads a Villavicencio, Colombia-based drug trafficking organization
that oversees the manufacturing and air smuggling of thousands of kilograms of
cocaine from Colombia and Venezuela, through Central America into Mexico, and
then, ultimately, into the United States.
Through his partnership with the Fuerzas Armadas
Revolucionarias de Colombia (the “FARC”), a U.S.-designated narco-terrorist
organization, and previous relationships with major Colombian traffickers
Daniel Barrera Barrera and Pedro Oliveiro Guerrero Castillo, Linares Castillo
has become one of the largest cocaine sources for drug-laden aircraft departing
from Apure, Venezuela to Central America.
In Central America, Honduran and Guatemalan criminal organizations
handle the logistics of receiving and transporting the drug loads out of
Central America and into Mexico for further distribution to Mexican drug
trafficking organizations such as Los Zetas and the Sinaloa Cartel. The Kingpin Act generally prohibits U.S.
persons from conducting financial or commercial transactions with this
individual and freezes any assets the designee may have under U.S.
“The Linares Castillo organization is a significant source
of supply for multiple violent drug cartels that exploit vulnerable Central
American countries as key transit points for the shipment of narcotics into
Mexico for further distribution into the United States,” said the Office of
Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Director Adam J. Szubin. “We continue to aggressively target key
transporters and logistic coordinators for one of the most strategic drug
routes between Central and South America.”
Jose Evaristo Linares Castillo was arrested by Colombian
authorities on May 25, 2012, and is currently pending extradition to the United
States. He is charged in two separate
U.S. district courts for drug trafficking and related offenses. On June 14, 2011, the Southern District of
Florida issued a superseding indictment charging Linares Castillo with drug
trafficking and multiple money laundering offenses. On July 5, 2012, the Southern District of New
York issued a superseding indictment charging Linares Castillo with multiple
drug trafficking, narco-terrorism and material support offenses.
Today's action would not have been possible without support
from the Drug Enforcement Administration and the United States Attorneys’
Offices in New York City and Miami.
Since June 2000, the President has identified 97 drug kingpins, and OFAC
has designated more than 1,200 businesses and individuals, pursuant to the
Kingpin Act. 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 of up to $5 million.
Criminal fines for corporations may reach $10 million. Other individuals face up to 10 years in
prison and fines for criminal violation of the Kingpin Act pursuant to Title 18
of the United States Code.
To view a chart of the
Linares Castillo Organization click here.