DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE DELIVERS $13.3 MILLION IN FORFEITED DRUG KINGPIN ASSETS TO GOVERNMENT OF COLOMBIA

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.