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  HOME | Colombia (Click here for more)

US Sanctions Colombia's Rincon Castillo Cartel

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has identified the Rincon Castillo drug trafficking organization (Rincon Castillo DTO), its nefarious leader Colombian drug trafficker Pedro Rincon Castillo (a.k.a. “Pedro Orejas”), and a key Colombian criminal associate Horacio de Jesus Triana Romero as significant foreign narcotics traffickers pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act).

Seven additional Colombian individuals were designated for providing material support to or acting on behalf of the Rincon Castillo DTO. OFAC further designated seven Colombian companies that are owned or controlled by the designated individuals or the Rincon Castillo DTO.

As a result of today’s action, any 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.

“Treasury is taking action to shut off the flow of Colombian cocaine proceeds through the Rincon Castillo drug trafficking organization’s elaborate network of emerald mines and other seemingly legitimate enterprises. The United States is committed to combating cartels engaged in cocaine trafficking and the violent networks they have cultivated to launder dirty money and transport these dangerous drugs,” said Sigal Mandelker, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. “We will continue to work with U.S. and Colombian Government partners to prevent those responsible for this illicit activity from abusing legitimate financial systems around the world.”

Since at least 2002, Colombian narcotics trafficker Pedro Rincon Castillo regularly distributed cocaine shipments, including in multi-ton quantities, from Colombia to Venezuela, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and elsewhere, with the intention to import into the United States. Although Pedro Rincon Castillo was arrested in Colombia in 2013 and later received a 20-year sentence for a violent murder, throughout his incarceration he has continued his drug trafficking and money laundering activities. Pedro Rincon Castillo and three members of the Rincon DTO, Horacio Triana Romero, Omar Rincon Castillo, and Gilberto Rincon Castillo, were indicted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida for conspiracy to distribute cocaine on July 28, 2017.

Pedro Rincon Castillo and the Rincon Castillo DTO operate cocaine laboratories in the Boyacá area of Colombia, where they also own emerald mines and related companies that launder their illicit money. Colombia’s emerald industry has long been plagued with violence as various factions, including paramilitaries and drug cartels, fight for control of mines and their lucrative product. The Rincon Castillo DTO has supported these violent groups and maintained relationships in furtherance of illicit activities with previously identified Colombian Tier I Kingpin organizations, including the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC) and Los Urabeños (a.k.a. Clan Usuga), and Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel.

The Rincon Castillo DTO is comprised of the relatives and close associates of its violent leader Pedro Rincon Castillo. Horacio Triana Romero, Pedro Rincon Castillo’s brother-in-law, is also a significant foreign narcotics trafficker with independent operations, including the management of cocaine laboratories in Colombia, coordination of multi-ton cocaine shipments, and the taxing of other narcotics traffickers and cocaine laboratory operators. Colombian authorities arrested Horacio Triana Romero in 2016 for attempted murder. Pedro Rincon Castillo’s brothers, Omar Rincon Castillo and Gilberto Rincon Castillo, are involved in drug trafficking, including coordination of cocaine shipments and production, the purchase of precursor chemicals for cocaine processing, drug debt collection, and assassinations. Additional brothers Salvador Rincon Castillo, Gustavo Rincon Castillo, and Emerio Rincon Castillo conduct money laundering through the emerald industry and buying of property in Colombia, and provide financing for ongoing drug trafficking activities of the Rincon Castillo DTO. Diosde Gonzalez Rodriguez, Pedro Rincon Castillo’s other brother-in-law, operates cocaine laboratories and Julio Solano Chaves assists in the creation of companies for the Rincon Castillo DTO.

The Colombian companies designated by OFAC today are putatively involved in the mining and commercialization of emeralds, production of agricultural supplies, and retail of hardware, paints, and glass. Comercializadora Internacional Agricola y Ganadera Rincon Castillo Limitada, Distribuidora y Electricos Rincon Ltda., Esmeraldas Colombianas Cerro Gualilo Ltda. C.I., Esmeraldas Narapay Ltda., Inversiones de Occidente Ltda., Sociedad Esmeraldifera de Maripi Ltda., and Zuliana de Esmeraldas C.I. S.A.S. were designated for being owned or controlled by these individuals or the Rincon Castillo DTO.

OFAC closely coordinated with the Drug Enforcement Administration and Customs and Border Protection’s National Targeting Center 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.


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