Authorities in Honduras have seized properties belonging to a major drug trafficking clan, a move that in the past has precipitated the downfall of some of the country's most powerful criminal organizations.
The Attorney General's Office published a press release on February 27 announcing the seizure of 40 properties, based on money laundering charges against members and associates of the Montes Bobadilla clan.
Among the individuals targeted are Juan Carlos Montes Bobadilla, Noé Montes Bobadilla, Herlinda Bobadilla, and Tito Montes Bobadilla. The United States requested their extradition in September 2016, according to La Prensa.
These four individuals reportedly inherited the family drug business following the death of Alex Adán Montes Bobadilla. Alex Adán was arrested in 2003 while transporting 432 kilos of cocaine, but managed to flee the country. He was later arrested in Colombia and extradited back to Honduras, where he died in 2014 while under house arrest.
Alex Adán had himself taken over the trade from his cousin, Pedro García Montes, who worked as a transporter for Colombia's now-defunct Cali Cartel in the 1980s, according to El Heraldo. He was assassinated in Colombia in 2004.
A source within the General Attorney's Office told InSight Crime that the Montes Bobadilla family had taken over the criminal operations of the Cachiros drug clan, whose top two leaders handed themselves in to US authorities in 2015. InSight Crime has previously estimated the Cachiros family enterprise to be worth up to $1 billion.
InSight Crime Analysis
The property seizures by Honduran authorities, coupled with the US extradition requests, are reminiscent of recent actions against the country's other family-run criminal groups. Honduran law enforcement also seized a large number of properties from the Cachiros after the US Treasury department added the group's leaders to its so-called "Kingpin" list.
SEE ALSO: Cachiros News and Profile
The Valle Valle cartel is another notable example of this US-Honduran playbook to target the country's drug trafficking groups. Honduran authorities confiscated a string of Valle properties in 2014 shortly after the arrest of a sister, Digna Valle Valle, in Florida in July 2014. Several of the Valle Valle leaders were arrested just a few months later, and two of the leaders were extradited before the end of the year.
Meanwhile the Rosenthal family, once one of the most well-connected in all of Honduras, had numerous properties seized in October 2015 after the United States unsealed a money laundering indictment against former Vice President Jaime Rosenthal Oliva and several of his family members. The US government later requested the extradition of the family patriarch in January 2016.