<!-- IMAGE -->
International narcotics trafficking is a $300 billion dollar a year business, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Tracking and interdicting the flow of illegal drug profits is a major priority for law enforcement agencies of the United States, among them, the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC.
On August 20th, OFAC designated Jose Cayetano Melo Perilla, a Colombian citizen and resident of Costa Rica, a narcotics trafficker acting for or on behalf of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia, or FARC. Also named by OFAC were 4 entities owned, controlled, or directed by, or that act on behalf of Jose Cayetano Melo Perilla.
Pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, the assets of designated entities and individuals under U.S. jurisdiction are frozen and U.S. persons are prohibited from commercial transactions with them.
"Although recent actions by the Colombian government have undercut the FARC significantly, it continues to be the leading trafficker of narcotics out of Colombia," according to Adam Szubin, Director of Office of Foreign Assets Control. "Today's designation," he said, "builds on our longstanding campaign against the FARC by targeting a key trafficker and money launderer."
Established in 1966, the FARC is the largest and oldest terrorist group in Latin America. Its trademark activities include murder, kidnapping, robbery, and narcotics trafficking. Effective efforts by the Colombian government have taken a toll on the FARC. A number of mid-level FARC leaders have been killed or captured in recent years and at least 3,027 FARC members deserted in 2008, a record number that surpassed the previous year's record number of 2,480.
Jose Cayetano Melo Perilla is an important contact for the FARC's so-called 27th Front which is led by Luis Eduardo Lopez Mendez. Mendez ultimately reports to the FARC's military operations chief Victor Julio Rojas.
Also designated by OFAC are the following companies owned by Melo Perilla: Carillanca Colombia Y Cia S en CS, a Colombian company dedicated to hydroponic agriculture; Carillanca S.A., a Costa Rican company involved in tomato cultivation, Carillanca C.A., a company located in Venezuela whose focus is real estate and construction, and Parqueadero De La 25-13 a commercial parking lot located in Bogota, Colombia.
The U.S. is committed to bringing drug kingpins to justice and taking the profit of out of international narcotics trafficking.