Hot Properties, Frozen Assets: Feds Crack Down on Drug Cartel

Oct 31, 2006 1:50pm

A suspected Colombian drug kingpin has been laundering money through a beachfront hotel, a soccer team, two medical clinics and half a dozen other companies, according to the U.S. Treasury Department. Today the Treasury Department officially designated ten companies and seven individuals as fronts for the drug cartel headed by Carlos Alberto "Beto" Renteria Mantilla, freezing any assets they may have in the U.S. The Treasury action also bars American companies and citizens from doing business with them. THE BLOTTER RECOMMENDS Stacked Deck: Rewards of Millions in the Hunt for Latin Narco Terrorists Same Drugs, New Tricks Click Here to Check Out More of the Brian Ross Page "Beto Renteria is both creative and deceptive at laundering drug money. By rolling his narco proceeds through seemingly legitimate businesses, he has created a vast network of front men and sham companies reaching beyond the Colombian borders," said Adam Szubin, Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) at the Treasury Department. "Designations can deal a serious blow to drug cartels by exposing and crippling their financial underpinnings." The front companies named by the Treasury Department are all based in Colombia or Panama, and the individuals are all Colombian. Renteria was charged in 2004 with violating U.S. racketeering laws, and the U.S. State Department is offering a $5 million reward for his capture. The government alleges his Norte Valle cartel has shipped more than 500 metric tons of cocaine — worth more than $10 billion — to the United States since 1990.

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