HomeNewsBriefUS Declares End of Cali Cartel’s Business Empire, but Criminal Legacy Continues
BRIEF

US Declares End of Cali Cartel’s Business Empire, but Criminal Legacy Continues

COLOMBIA / 20 JUN 2014 BY KYRA GURNEY EN

Authorities in the United States have marked the destruction of the Cali Cartel’s business empire by removing economic sanctions against over 300 people and entities linked to the organization, but there are indications that individuals tied to the cartel continue to participate in illegal activity.

On June 19, the US Department of Treasury announced the removal of economic sanctions against 78 individuals and 230 entities once linked to the Cali Cartel. According to US authorities, the people and businesses removed from the list have proved they no longer participate in illegal activities.

In a press release, the Treasury Department identified the removal as the “largest single delisting” in the history of the sanctions program and credited economic sanctions with the demise of the Cali Cartel’s vast business empire. 

“Today’s action demonstrates the successful use of targeted sanctions,” Adam Szubin, Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control said in the statement.   

Miguel and Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela, the brothers who ran the Cali Cartel, are now the only members of their family who remain on the list.   

InSight Crime Analysis

During the height of their operations in the 1980s and 1990s, the Cali Cartel trafficked hundreds of tons of cocaine to the United States and Europe and amassed a fortune worth an estimated $12 billion. 

The cartel suffered a blow in 1995 when former US president Bill Clinton signed an executive order approving economic sanctions against suspected drug traffickers including the Rodriguez Orejuela brothers, an extensive list of individuals and businesses that became known as the “Clinton List.” While the tactic successfully targeted front companies used by criminal organizations to launder money, it has come under criticism for applying punitive measures to individuals and businesses without a trial.  

SEE ALSO: Colombia News and Profiles 

When the Rodriguez Orejuela brothers were convicted of drug trafficking and money laundering in the United States in 2006, some of their family members agreed to comply with Treasury Department requirements to be removed from the list.

However, the Colombian drugstore chain Drogas La Rebaja, which authorities believe was used by the Cali Cartel to launder money, remains under investigation, while five children of Gilberto and Miguel Rodriguez Orejuela have been charged with concealing assets tied to the cartel’s illegal activities. In addition two former cartel members who have served prison sentences in the United States have returned to Colombia and attempted to retake control of their lost criminal empires in Cali and the Valle del Cauca region.

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America's largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 13 NOV 2015

Congress is considering a proposal meant to help the Department of Justice pursue a wider range of players in the…

MONEY LAUNDERING / 23 OCT 2017

The Waked money laundering investigation that has rocked the Panamanian establishment has recorded its first successful prosecution, but US authorities…

COCA / 17 NOV 2016

Colombia has seized a record amount of cocaine in 2016, which according to official statistics would suggest it has stopped…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…