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U.S. Targets Guatemalan Drug Trafficker


Horst Walter Overdick Mejia, alias "El Tigre" (the tiger), looks on as he is escorted to the Supreme Court of Justice of Guatemala by the police in Guatemala City April 3, 2012.

The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has designated Guatemalan national Horst Walter Overdick Mejia as a narcotics trafficker.

The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has designated Guatemalan national Horst Walter Overdick Mejia as a narcotics trafficker. Overdick Mejia is the head of a major drug trafficking and money laundering organization based in Guatemala and accused of providing a critical link in the drug trade between Colombian producers and the violent Mexican drug cartel Los Zetas. Under the Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, American citizens are prohibited from conducting financial or commercial transactions with Overdick Mejia, and any assets he may have under U.S. jurisdiction have been frozen.

On April 3rd, Guatemalan authorities arrested Overdick Mejia. As a veteran spice buyer, he allegedly used his local contacts and his business acumen to smuggle thousands of kilograms of cocaine to Mexico and on into the United States. It is alleged that Overdick Mejia is responsible for bringing Los Zetas into Guatemala in 2008 to eliminate a competing trafficker. Overdick Mejia also allegedly laundered millions of U.S. dollars in narcotics proceeds generated by both his own organization and Los Zetas.

“Overdick Mejia’s drug trafficking activities and close ties to the Los Zetas makes him a dangerous and critical figure in the Central American narcotics trade,” said Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, Director Adam Szubin. “By designating Overdick Mejia, OFAC is demonstrating its support for the Guatemalan government in its struggle against the threats and violence posed by these international drug gangs.”

The U.S. Treasury Department has designated more than one-thousand individuals and entities pursuant to the Kingpin Act since June 2000. These actions are part of an ongoing effort to apply financial pressure against significant foreign narcotics traffickers and their organizations worldwide.

“These are necessary tools to use,” said Drug Enforcement Administration Chief of Financial Operations John Arvantis, “to ensure that we put dangerous drug trafficking organizations out of business and ensure they cannot exploit the U.S. financial system. Overdick Mejia,” said Mr. Arvantis, “was a vital link between Colombian drug producers and Mexican cartels such as Los Zetas. This case is yet another example of the united front that law enforcement and regulators must utilize to ensure that organizations such as this one are put of business forever.”

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