Assets of 8 alleged La Oficina de Envigado leaders frozen
By Dialogo September 18, 2014
Eight alleged leaders of La Oficina de Envigado – an organized crime group known as La Oficina and based in Medellín, Colombia – were sanctioned under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act) by the U.S. Treasury Department on September 16.
“La Oficina’s cadres of enforcers intimidate, extort, and murder citizens and officials, including courageous judicial and law enforcement partners throughout Colombia,” Adam J. Szubin, director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), said in a prepared statement. “With today’s action, we are again targeting La Oficina and exposing its efforts to use violence to maintain its position as a governing force in Colombia’s narcotics trafficking underworld.”
The individuals were sanctioned after the U.S. Treasury Department designated La Oficina de Envigado as a Specially Designated Narcotics Trafficker (SDNT) pursuant to the Kingpin Act on June 26. The U.S. Treasury sanctioned La Oficina’s money-laundering arm in July.
La Oficina engages in drug trafficking, extortion, and murder-for-hire, according to the Treasury Department.
The statement identified the eight alleged leaders as: Juan Carlos Mesa Vallejo, Julián Andrey González Vásquez, Diego Alberto Muñoz Agudelo, Freyner Alfonso Ramírez García, Jesús David Hernández Grisales, Rubiel Medina Cardona, Didier de Jesús Ríos López and Edinson Rodolfo Rojas.
The sanctions, established under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, make it illegal for any U.S. entity or citizen to conduct financial or commercial transactions with any of them.
La Oficina has evolved considerably since it began an outfit that killed and collected drug money while working for the Medellín Cartel and its leader, the late Pablo Escobar, in the 1980s and 1990s. La Oficina has emerged in recent years, expanding from its base in the suburb of Bello throughout Medellín, Colombia's second-largest city, according to the Treasury Department.
Since June 2000, Treasury officials have named more than 1,600 individuals and entities have under the Kingpin Act, according to the Treasury Department.
Penalties for violations of the Kingpin Act range from civil fines of up to $1.075 million (USD) to more severe criminal penalties.
Criminal penalties for corporate officers may include up to 30 years in prison and fines up to USD$5 million.