Washington – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) identified Colombian national Pedro Luis Zuleta Noscue as a significant foreign narcotics trafficker pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act). Four additional Colombian nationals were also designated for their involvement in the narcotics trafficking activities of Pedro Luis Zuleta Noscue. As a result of today’s action, all assets in which these persons have an interest in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC. OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of blocked persons.
“Today we are taking action against a Colombia-based narcotics trafficker tied to elements of the FARC,” said Sigal Mandelker, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. “As Pedro Luis Zuleta Noscue continues to supply narcotics to criminal groups such as Colombia’s La Oficina de Envigado, which rely on the sale of these illicit drugs as the financial bedrock of their criminal activities, we remain committed to targeting their financial networks.”
Pedro Luis Zuleta Noscue has long controlled a narcotics trafficking corridor in and around the area of Corinto, Cauca, Colombia, where he has also financially supported FARC-led narcotics trafficking activities. The FARC was identified by the President in May 2003 as a significant foreign narcotics trafficker pursuant to the Kingpin Act. The FARC was also designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act on October 8, 1997, and as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist pursuant to Executive Order 13224 on October 31, 2001. Drug laboratories controlled by Pedro Luis Zuleta Noscue in Colombia are responsible for producing ton quantities of cocaine, as well as smaller quantities of heroin, on a monthly basis for international narcotics markets. Additionally, Zuleta Noscue oversees the production of ton quantities of highly-potent marijuana (known as “creepy”) which is supplied to both domestic and international markets. Among the primary purchasers of “creepy” marijuana from Pedro Luis Zuleta Noscue is the Colombian criminal group known as La Oficina de Envigado, which sells the marijuana in and around Medellin, Colombia. OFAC identified La Oficina de Envigado as a significant foreign narcotics trafficker on June 26, 2014.
OFAC also designated four individuals for their role in Pedro Luis Zuleta Noscue’s drug trafficking activities: Alonso Zuleta Noscue is Pedro Luis Zuleta Noscue’s brother and primary partner in the narcotics trafficking business; Jose Efer Higuita Peralta is a front person and money launderer for Pedro Luis Zuleta Noscue; and Jose Oscar Zuleta Trochez, a nephew of Pedro Luis Zuleta Noscue, is involved in operating narcotics laboratories. Finally, Jonathan Alvarez Escobar (a.k.a. “Primo”) is designated for his role as a member of La Oficina de Envigado who is responsible for brokering large-scale “creepy” marijuana purchases from Pedro Luis Zuleta Noscue, as well as coordinating the resale of narcotics throughout Medellin, Colombia.
OFAC closely coordinated with the Drug Enforcement Administration in order to execute today’s action.
Since June 2000, more than 2,100 entities and individuals have been named pursuant to the Kingpin Act for their role in international narcotics trafficking. Penalties for violations of the Kingpin Act range from civil penalties of up to $1,466,485 per violation to more severe criminal penalties. Criminal penalties for corporate officers may include up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $5 million. Criminal fines for corporations may reach $10 million. Other individuals could face up to 10 years in prison and fines pursuant to Title 18 of the United States Code for criminal violations of the Kingpin Act.