Action Targets Individuals Working to Undermine Law Enforcement Investigations
Washington – The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today designated longtime Colombian criminal Javier Garcia Rojas (alias "Maracuya") and two other Colombian nationals as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers (SDNTs) pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act) for their links to previously designated SDNTs Jose Bayron Piedrahita Ceballos and the Colombian criminal group La Oficina de Envigado (La Oficina). OFAC also designated four Colombian companies owned, controlled, or directed by the individuals designated today. As a result of today's action, U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions or otherwise dealing with these individuals and companies, and any assets they may have under U.S. jurisdiction are blocked.
"Treasury is targeting Colombian nationals, including Javier Garcia Rojas, under the Kingpin Act for their attempts to undermine joint U.S.-Colombian investigations into the criminal activities of La Oficina and Jose Bayron Piedrahita Ceballos," said Sigal Mandelker, Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. "We are intent on disrupting the narcotics trafficking and illicit activities of organized crime groups like La Oficina, and work closely with our partners in the DEA, FBI, and U.S. Customs and Border Enforcement to dismantle their corrupt networks."
Today's designation is OFAC's eighth action targeting individuals and entities associated with La Oficina, which was designated pursuant to the Kingpin Act on June 26, 2014. Nearly two years later, on May 3, 2016, OFAC designated Jose Bayron Piedrahita Ceballos (Piedrahita Ceballos) for his ties to La Oficina. 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.
OFAC's action today follows the arrest of Piedrahita Ceballos by Colombian authorities on September 29, 2017 on a provisional U.S. arrest warrant for charges of conspiracy, honest services fraud, and obstruction of justice in the Southern District of Florida stemming from his participation in a bribery scheme that resulted in the dismissal of a 1990s indictment filed in that same district against Piedrahita Ceballos and other Colombia-based cocaine traffickers of the Cali Cartel.
Two of the individuals designated today, Javier Garcia Rojas and Ruth Garcia Rojas, are siblings and longtime criminal partners of Piedrahita Ceballos. Javier Garcia Rojas is a former narcotics trafficking partner of Piedrahita Ceballos who also serves as a money launderer and financier of La Oficina. Ruth Garcia Rojas is an attorney who assists her brother Javier in laundering and managing his illicit assets. The third individual designated today, an employee of Piedrahita Ceballos named Wilton Cesar Hernandez Durango, is a former Colombian law enforcement official who works in coordination with Javier and Ruth Garcia Rojas to disrupt Colombian efforts to investigate Piedrahita Ceballos.
The four companies designated by OFAC today include two Medellin, Colombia-based agricultural businesses owned by Javier Garcia Rojas – Agroconstrucciones Las Palmeras S.A.S. and MMAG Agricultural Global S.A.S. – as well as an investment company controlled by Ruth Garcia Rojas called Pinzon & Garcia S. En C.S., based in the city of Cali, Colombia. Also designated today is a small automotive repair business in Medellin, Colombia called Euromecanica, owned by Wilton Cesar Hernandez Durango.
Today's action is the result of close coordination between OFAC, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and with the Government of Colombia. U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Miami Field Office also provided invaluable operational support to the investigation leading to these designations.
Since June 2000, more than 2,000 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 $1,437,153 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.