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US Treasury Targets Drug Cartel Assets in
Colombia and Offshore Havens

US Department of the Treasury, November 28, 2006

The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today added five Colombian individuals and twenty-two entities to its list of Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers (SDNTs) for their ties to the North Valle drug cartel.

"Today's action levies financial sanctions against another group of previously-concealed entities and individuals operating on behalf of the North Valle cartel," said Adam Szubin, Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control. "OFAC will continue to dismantle the cartel's financial empire and expose its willing collaborators."

The five Colombian individuals act as front persons for the North Valle drug cartel leader Raul Grajales Lemos (Raul Grajales), and one of the individuals is also associated with North Valle leader Carlos Alberto "Beto" Renteria (Beto Renteria). Today's action is the sixth designation against the financial network of Raul Grajales and Beto Renteria.

One of the individuals named today, Abdala Saieh Jassir has served as a front person for Raul Grajales and Beto Renteria since 1988. He is the father of SDNT Moises Abdal Saieh Muvdi, who was designated by OFAC on June 13, 2006, and is currently in Colombian custody on money laundering charges. Abdala Saieh Jassir has also operated as the manager of Confecciones Lord S.A., an SDNT entity that supplies goods to Casa Estrella, a designated Colombian department store chain owned by Raul Grajales and Beto Renteria. The remaining four individuals designated today, Gloria Elena Fajardo Hernandez, Piedad Rocio Sanchez Candelo, Sandra Milena Prieto Santiago and Hector Leon, have played key roles in managing companies controlled by Raul Grajales.

Twenty-two companies controlled by Raul Grajales and/or Beto Renteria have also been designated today as SDNTs. Five of these companies are run by SDNTs Moises Abdal Saieh Muvdi, Carlos Ernesto Saieh Jamis and Abdala Saieh Jassir, who have worked for or on behalf of Beto Renteria and Raul Grajales for well over a decade. These five entities form a part of the international financial network of Raul Grajales and Beto Renteria, and are located in Barbados, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands and Panama. The remaining seventeen companies are controlled by Raul Grajales and encompass a wide range of services including agricultural, consulting, telecommunications, car rental, retail, accessory manufacturing, publishing, construction, agricultural products, agricultural research and education and the exportation of products.

This action is part of an ongoing interagency effort to expose, isolate, and disrupt Colombia's drug cartels by means of economic sanctions pursuant to Executive Order 12978. This effort involves the Departments of the Treasury, Justice, State and Homeland Security. Today's action freezes any assets of the designees found in the United States and prohibits all financial and commercial transactions by any U.S. person with the designees.

The assets of a total of 1327 businesses and individuals have been designated pursuant to E.O. 12978, in the United States, Aruba, Barbados, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, Spain, Vanuatu, Venezuela, the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands, and the Cayman Islands. The 526 SDNT businesses include agricultural, aviation, consulting, construction, distribution, financial, investment, manufacturing, mining, offshore, pharmaceutical, publishing, real estate, retail, service and telecommunication firms. The SDNT list includes 21 kingpins from the Cali, North Valle and North Coast drug cartels in Colombia.