Colombian pharmacy chain Drogas La Rebaja has been allegedly fueled by drug trafficking money from the Cali Cartel since the 1980’s, although employees and shareholders claim they were unaware of any irregularities, newspaper El Espectador reported Wednesday.
Humberto Rodriguez, one of the sons of the former head of the Cali Cartel, Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela, said that the “injection” of capital into the chain of pharmacies was made in the form of bonuses and checks issued by the Colombian Worker’s Bank (Banco de los Trabajadores), which hid the nature of the illegal money entering the company.
“I am more than sure that the capital inflow was done without the knowledge of shareholders and officials, who afterwards were very shocked to lose their jobs when Drogas La Rebaja was put on the Clinton list and had to close several branches,” Rodriguez explained.
The Clinton list is a public record of people individuals forbidden from doing business in the United States or with American citizens.
Early Tuesday, Jaime Rodriguez Mondragon, another son of extradited drug lord Orejuela, said that he has evidence that his father had been investing drug money into the pharmacy business since 1984.
Although he did not specify any figures regarding how much money was “invested” into the company, Mondragon did report that his father had a fortune of more than $2.1 billion dollars, as a result of trafficking roughly 250,000 kilos of cocaine to the United States.
The statements were made during the trial against the Rodriguez Orejuela brothers and other alleged heirs of the Cali Cartel bosses’ businesses, for charges of alleged money laundering on behalf of Colombian mafia leaders.
It is also suspected that the accused have hidden around 140 goods, valued at more than $30 million dollars, and have not complied with the plea agreement signed by the Rodriguez Orejuela brothers in 2006 which promised to surrender all assets derived from drug trafficking.
One of Orejuela’s other sons William Rodriguez Abadia, spoke with W Radio on Wednesday regarding his father’s crimes and his family’s alleged involvement.
In his opinion, it was very unfortunate that Alvaro Uribe won the 2002 presidential elections because he had “no ties” with the Cali Cartel, which he blames the 2003 extraditions of his father and uncle Gilberto Rodriguez Orejeula to the United States.
Abadia also reported that it was the support of and collaboration with Colombian politicians, including former President Ernesto Sampler (1994-1998), that kept the Cali Cartel afloat and under wraps for so many years.