WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) identified Zulma Maria Musso Torres (Musso Torres) as a significant foreign narcotics trafficker pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act).
Musso Torres (a.k.a. “La Patrona” or “La Señora”) is the leader of an international drug trafficking organization (DTO) primarily based in Santa Marta, Magdalena, Colombia. Musso Torres’ DTO controls strategically located maritime corridors in northern Colombia and collects a per kilogram tax from narcotics traffickers for protection and safe passage of multi-ton shipments of narcotics through the DTO’s area of control.
Musso Torres is assisted by her two sons, Washington Antunez Musso (Antunez Musso) and Juan Carlos Reales Britto (Reales Britto), and her husband, Luis Antonio Bermudez Mejia (Bermudez Mejia), who were also designated today for providing material support to the narcotics trafficking activities of Musso Torres. Antunez Musso, Reales Britto, and Bermudez Mejia report directly to Musso Torres and assist her drug trafficking activities at seaports and maritime locations in the Magdalena, Atlantico, and La Guajira departments of Colombia. Musso Torres’ DTO is responsible for facilitating the transportation of multi-ton quantities of cocaine from Colombia to the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, Central America, and Mexico.
Also designated today are two Colombian entities, Exclusive Import Export S.A.S. and Poligono Santa Marta S.A.S., that are owned, controlled, or directed by, or act for or on behalf of, Antunez Musso and Reales Britto. Exclusive Import Export S.A.S., an agricultural trading company, and Poligono Santa Marta S.A.S., a firearm shooting range and training facility, are both located in Santa Marta, Magdalena, Colombia.
Today’s action would not have been possible without the support and assistance of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) New York Field Division’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Strike Force, DEA’s Cartagena Resident Office, DEA’s Bogota Country Office, and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations, Miami Field Office.
“OFAC will continue to work with its interagency partners to identify, target, and disrupt the most significant drug trafficking organizations facilitating the shipment of drugs to the United States,” said OFAC Director Andrea Gacki. “Today’s designation of Musso Torres and members of her organization serve as a reminder that Colombian cocaine continues to pose a major threat to the United States.”
As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the designated individuals and entities that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC. OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or persons within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons.
Since June 2000, more than 2,200 entities and individuals have been sanctioned 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 $1,548,075 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 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.