On March 24, 2021, the Government of Colombia confirmed receipt of COP 363.916.793.40 (USD 100,000) transferred from U.S. Department of Justice – with the concurrence of the U.S. Department of State – in recognition of Colombia’s assistance to the United States in the investigation and conviction of Henry Carrillo Ramirez and his Colombian-based organization for drug trafficking and money laundering. This amount represents Colombia’s share of assets seized and forfeited from Carrillo’s criminal enterprise. In 2016, the United States and Colombia entered into an Asset Sharing Agreement, which bolsters international cooperation between the two countries on asset forfeiture from criminals to deprive them of the profits of their crimes.
In this case, a U.S. investigation led by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and worked in conjunction with the Colombian National Police (CNP) and Italian law enforcement officers revealed a drug trafficking and money laundering link between the Colombian-based Carrillo organization, and the Italian mafia. The Colombian National Police assisted the investigation by obtaining judicial intercepts, conducting surveillance and enforcement operations against the organization, and arresting several of the targets of the investigation. Because of the CNP efforts, key members of the organization, including the leader Henry Carrillo Ramirez, were identified, arrested, and extradited to the United States. In 2018 and 2019, several defendants tied to the Carrillo organization – including Carrillo Ramirez, Alex Mendoza Vásquez, Arnoldo Quiceno Botero and Gabriel Biondo – were prosecuted and ultimately pleaded guilty to federal narcotics and money laundering charges in the United States District Court in Boston, Massachusetts. USD 500,000 in currency, representing proceeds from the Carrillo organization’s drug trafficking activities, was also seized and administratively forfeited by the DEA.
The United States is committed to recognizing, through international asset sharing, the important law enforcement cooperation provided by its treaty partners. The Unites States thanks the Colombian authorities for their assistance to the United States in the investigation and successful prosecution of this matter.