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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 15, 1997


Treasury Prohibits Business Dealings with and Freezes Assets of Cali Cartel Front Companies and Individuals

The Treasury Department today identified an additional 21 businesses and 57 individuals as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers (SDNTs) in accordance with President Clinton's October 1995 Executive Order that applies economic sanctions against Colombian drug cartels.

Coordinated with the Justice and State Departments, today's action by Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) prohibits U.S. persons from engaging in unlicensed transactions with these SDNTs and blocks SDNT assets subject to United States jurisdiction. Violations of these restrictions carry criminal penalties of up to 10 years in prison and fines of $500,000 for corporations and $250,000 for individuals. Civil penalties up to $11,000 per violation may be imposed.

Executive Order 12978, signed by President Clinton on October 21, 1995 under authority of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, finds that the activities of significant foreign narcotics traffickers centered in Colombia and the unparalleled violence, corruption, and harm that they cause constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the United States' national security and economy. These traffickers are responsible for more than 80 percent of the cocaine entering the United States. Moreover, they destabilize regional economies and produce violence and corruption everywhere they operate. The President has ordered that the agents and front companies of these traffickers be identified.

Today's additions bring the total number of SDNTs to 359. All have been determined to be directly involved with illegal traffickers and their so-called "legitimate business empires." Such businesses include several large poultry farms and processing plants, investment and import/export firms, real estate developers, a consulting firm, a lumber distributor, and a construction company. All 78 of the newly designated SDNTs have been determined to be owned or controlled by or to act for or on behalf of the Cali cartel's "Pacho" Herrera Buitrago organization.

The list of new SDNTs will be published in the Federal Register this week and is currently available electronically from OFAC.

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