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.

share icon icon icon

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

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

COCAINE / 2 MAR 2021

With higher profits and lower risks than the United States, Europe has emerged recently as arguably the most important cocaine…

COLOMBIA / 28 SEP 2021

The recent dismantling of a migrant smuggling ring in Colombia has revealed the routes, corruption networks and modus operandi used…

COLOMBIA / 2 JUL 2021

Authorities and civil society alike are alarmed by how acts of criminal violence appear to be specifically targeting women in…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…

THE ORGANIZATION

‘Ndrangheta Investigation, Exclusive Interview With Suriname President Make Waves

2 DEC 2022

Two weeks ago, InSight Crime published an investigation into how Italian mafia clan the ‘Ndrangheta built a cocaine trafficking network from South America to ‘Ndrangheta-controlled Italian ports. The investigation generated…