The United States has lifted sanctions against individuals and companies that were linked to Colombia’s once powerful Cali Cartel, it was announced on Thursday.
In total 308 individuals and companies blacklisted by the United States under President Bill Clinton’s administration due to their associations with the Cali Cartel’s drug trafficking operations, will have sanctions against them lifted.
|“The financial collapse of Colombia’s Cali Cartel under the weight of economic sanctions.”|
The United States Treasury lifted sanctions on 78 people and 230 entities in what it called, “the largest single delisting in the history of Treasury’s sanctions programs.”
The statement added that the removal of the sanctions, “follows the financial collapse of Colombia’s Cali Cartel under the weight of economic sanctions.”
Record Designations Removal Demonstrates Successful Use of Targeted Sanctions to Dismantle the Cali Cartel Network http://t.co/BptkgqUCmJ
— Treasury Department (@USTreasury) June 19, 2014
All those being removed from the list were part of a network run by the leaders of the Cali Cartel, the Rodriguez Orejuela brothers, Miguel and Gilberto, who remain on the list and are currently prisoners in the United States, serving 30 year sentences.
“The successful use of targeted sanctions”
The director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), Adam Szubin, said that “as the largest removal action in the history of Treasury’s sanctions programs, today’s action demonstrates the successful use of targeted sanctions, which have destroyed the Rodriguez Orejuela brothers’ business empire”
“We maintain our support for the Colombian authorities as they prepare to complete the extinction of the assets of the Rodriguez brothers, including the drugstore chain ‘Drogas La Rebaja'” he added.
US Department of the Treasury, “administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on US foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign countries and regimes, terrorists, international narcotics traffickers, those engaged in activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and other threats to the national security, foreign policy or economy of the United States.”
The Cali Cartel
The Cali Cartel, along with Pablo Escobar‘s Medellin Cartel, were the key players in Colombia’s cocaine boom of the 1980s and 1990s. After the death of Escobar, the Cali Cartel was one of the richest and most powerful cartels in the world.
Since the organisation’s demise there has been an ongoing battle waged by the Rodriguez Orejuela family to maintain their illicit financial activities, as they try to hold together the remains of the billion dollar fortune the cartel leaders amassed.
Sanctions were placed on the Cali Cartel in 1995 as part of an initiative by Bill Clinton to attack drug cartels by focusing on the money laundering side of their operations, instead of solely on the trafficking side.
The Rodriguez Orejuela brothers were named as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers (SDNTs) and one of the largest ever asset seizure operations was subsequently launched against them.
- Treasury Lifts Sanctions on the Defunct Colombian Business Empire led by the Rodriguez Orejuela Family (U.S. Department of the Treasury Press Release)
- U.S. Treasury Lifts Sanctions Against Colombia’s Cali Cartel (Bloomberg
- Colombia Money Laundering Case Reminder of Cali Cartel’s Influence (Insight Crime)
- Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)