WASHINGTON– Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Jhon Fredy Zapata Garzon (Zapata Garzon) pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act) for materially assisting the international narcotics trafficking activities of the Clan del Golfo. Three of his family members and associates are also being designated along with four businesses they own or control.
“Criminal organizations trafficking cocaine and other drugs are a threat to the safety of the American people,” said Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “Treasury will continue to use its authorities to identify and disrupt dangerous criminal organizations.”
The President identified the Clan del Golfo, also known as Los Urabeños, as a significant foreign narcotics trafficker pursuant to the Kingpin Act on May 31, 2013. On October 15, 2018, the U.S. Attorney General identified Clan del Golfo as a top transnational organized crime threat involved in threatening the safety and prosperity of the United States and its allies. Clan del Golfo functions as a highly structured and centralized criminal enterprise that has evolved into the largest “Armed Criminal Organization” (Grupo Armado Organizado, GAO) in Colombia, with a cohesive national presence. The organization sends multi-ton quantities of cocaine to Panama and other countries in Central America. The majority of cocaine produced and exported by Colombian criminal organizations to the United States is transported through Central America and Mexico.
Zapata Garzon was assessed to be an important drug trafficker who was responsible for facilitating the shipment of cocaine on behalf of the Clan del Golfo. In the fall of 2018, he sent a number of shipments of cocaine totaling approximately 4,500 kg. On the orders of a Clan del Golfo member, Zapata Garzon provided campaign support and funding to mayoral candidates in several municipalities in Colombia.
Included as part of today’s designation are four companies that Zapata Garzon or his associates own or control. Las Ingenierias S.A.S., Fresno Home S.A.S., Distriecor S.A.S., and Multioperaciones de Occidente S.A.S. are used to launder the profits from Zapata Garzon’s drug trafficking. Zapata Garzon has employed relatives and associates, also designated today, as figureheads and managers for his businesses.
Zapata Garzon was designated today for materially assisting in, or providing financial or technological support for or to, or providing goods or services in support of, the international narcotics trafficking activities of the Clan del Golfo. Zapata Garzon is the 60 percent shareholder and legal representative for Las Ingenierias S.A.S., which was designated today for being owned, controlled, or directed by, or acting for or on behalf of, Zapata Garzon.
Zapata Garzon’s sister, Tatiana Marguerid Zapata Garzon, is the majority shareholder, legal representative, and business manager of Fresno Home S.A.S. Tatiana Marguerid Zapata Garzon was designated today for materially assisting in, or providing financial or technological support for or to, or providing goods or services in support of, the international narcotics trafficking activities of Zapata Garzon. Fresno Home S.A.S. was designated for being owned, controlled, or directed by, or acting for or on behalf of, Tatiana Marguerid Zapata Garzon.
Zapata Garzon’s brother-in-law, Euclides Correa Salas (Correa Salas), has worked as a figurehead and financial operator for Zapata Garzon. He is the 100 percent shareholder, legal representative, and general manager of Distriecor S.A.S. Correa Salas was designated today for being owned, controlled, or directed by, or acting for or on behalf of, Zapata Garzon. Distriecor S.A.S. was designated for being owned, controlled, or directed by, or acting for or on behalf of, Correa Salas.
Einer Murillo Palacios (Murillo Palacios) is a money launderer and the 60 percent shareholder and legal representative of Multi-operaciones de Occidente S.A.S. Murillo Palacios was designated today for being owned, controlled, or directed by, or acting for or on behalf of, Zapata Garzon. Multioperaciones de Occidente S.A.S. was designated for being owned, controlled, or directed by, or acting for or on behalf of, Murillo Palacios.
Both Correa Salas and Murillo Palacios are identified as close associates of Zapata Garzon who act as cutouts and trusted advisors for his drug trafficking and money laundering operations.
OFAC coordinated closely with the U.S. Southern Command in support of its Enhanced Counter Narcotics Operations in order to execute today’s action.
As a result of today’s designation, all property and interests in property of these individuals and entities that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by the designated individuals, are also blocked. OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of blocked or designated persons.
Since June 2000, more than 2,100 entities and individuals 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 $1,503,470 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 milion. 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.
Source: US Department of Treasury