DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE DELIVERS $13.3 MILLION IN FORFEITED DRUG KINGPIN ASSETS TO GOVERNMENT OF COLOMBIA
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of Justice today presented the
government of Colombia with a $13.3 million check representing the sharing of
assets forfeited from a Colombian drug kingpin. The money turned over today
will be used to benefit critical law enforcement programs in Colombia,
including aid to anti-drug operations, prosecutions, the purchase of new
equipment and construction projects.
The check was presented to Colombian President Alvaro Uribe this afternoon by
Associate Attorney General Robert McCallum and Deputy Assistant Attorney
General Mary Lee Warren of the Criminal Division, at a ceremony at the
Colombian Ambassadors Residence in Washington, D.C. The check represents
assets forfeited from deceased drug kingpin Jose Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha.
Gacha was indicted on heroin trafficking charges in the Southern District of
New York in 1989. However, Gacha was killed before authorities were able to
arrest and extradite him to the United States.
Kingpins, like Rodriguez Gacha, prey upon our citizens by peddling illegal
drugs that wreck devastation on our communities. Using the ill-gotten gains of
drug traffickers to make our criminal justice systems more effective provides
a satisfying irony, said Associate Attorney General Robert McCallum, who
presented the check to President Uribe
In 1998, the United States and Colombian governments agreed to share assets
seized during the Gacha investigation. The agreement calls for the money to be
devoted to enhancing law enforcement efforts such as the purchase of new
computers and surveillance equipment, construction of new courtrooms, and the
modernization of law enforcement training grounds.
The Department of Justice, Criminal Division, through the Asset Forfeiture and
Money Laundering Section, maintains an active program of international sharing
of forfeited assets with countries whose law enforcement has assisted in the
investigation /litigation leading to the forfeiture.