COLOMBIA NEWS – (WSJ) The U.S. Treasury said Thursday it placed Medellin, Colombia-based criminal group La Oficina de Envigado under Kingpin Act sanctions for its role in international drug trafficking.
La Oficina has its roots in the 1980s and 1990s, Treasury said, when its founding members provided enforcement, assassination and drug-debt collection services for the leaders of the Medellin Cartel, including its leader Pablo Escobar. Since then, the organization has grown despite infighting and the loss of several leaders, Treasury said.
“In addition to its direct involvement in narcotics trafficking, La Oficina de Envigado is complicit in a variety of illicit activities, including money laundering, extortion, and murder for hire. These ‘secondary’ activities further the operations of international trafficking groups,” said Adam Szubin, director of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, in a statement.
OFAC has previously designated several people and entities tied to La Oficina for their involvement with other organizations, Treasury said, including Diego Fernando Murillo Bejarano, the group’s original leader, who was placed under sanctions in February 2004 for his role as a key figure in the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia.
The latest Kingpin Act designation targeting a Colombian narcotics group comes a week after the U.S. lifted the remaining sanctions on the Cali Cartel, which was once the world’s biggest cocaine ring.