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Cablegate: Increasing Asset Seizures: A Step Forward In

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DE RUEHBO #7421 2892238
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 162238Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9548
INFO RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 7800
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 9419
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 5512
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA PRIORITY 0718
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 6109
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL PRIORITY 4119
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY

UNCLAS BOGOTA 007421

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PINR PREF PREL PTER PHUM CO
SUBJECT: INCREASING ASSET SEIZURES: A STEP FORWARD IN
COLOMBIA'S FIGHT AGAINST NARCOTRAFFICKING

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SUMMARY
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1. (U) In the past three months, the GOC seized close to a
billion dollars in assets tied to major narcotraffickers,
including infamous ex-paramilitaries "Macaco" and Vicente
Castano, and drug trafficker "Chupeta." The seizures reflect
excellent US-GOC law enforcement cooperation, as well as the
GOC's streamlining of asset seizure procedures. END SUMMARY.

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RECENT SEIZURES
---------------
2. (SBU) On August 27, the GOC seized 322 properties tied to
Juan Carlos Ramirez-Abadia, aka "Chupeta," arrested on August
7 in Brazil. The properties included a Caribbean island and
numerous buildings throughout Colombia, with a total
estimated value of USD400 million. According to Judatt, GOC
authorities expect to seize additional properties with a
total estimated value between USD450-600 million.

3. (U) On September 25, the GOC seized 17 assets tied to
Carlos Mario Jimenez, aka "Macaco" including four vehicles,
five companies, seven commercial establishments, and a boat.
On August 27, Macaco was removed from the Justice and Peace
process for continuing to engage in criminal activity from
jail, and is being detained on board a Colombian Navy ship
for security reasons.

4. (U) On September 26 and 27, the GOC seized over one
hundred properties near Medellin tied to Vicente Castano, a
former AUC leader who is still at-large. The total value was
estimated between $50 and $75 million. Castano, who refused
to demobilize under the Justice and Peace Law, has continued
to engage in drug trafficking and other crimes, and is likely
associated with emerging criminal groups in Antioquia,
Casanare, and Meta.

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THE LEGAL PROCESS
-----------------
5. (U) The Colombian Attorney General's National Unit to
Combat Money Laundering (UNCLA) leads the legal process for
the seizure of narcotraffickers' assets. Once assets have
been identified and confiscated, they are transferred to the
National Narcotics Directorate (DNE), an executive-level body
charged with managing seized assets.

6. (U) Over the past year, officials from DOJ's Narcotics and
Dangerous Drugs Section (NDDS) and Asset Forfeiture and Money
Laundering Section (AFMLS) traveled to Colombia to help
counterparts at UNCLA and DNE make processes more efficient
and cost-effective. These recent seizures show the success of
this collaboration.
Brownfield

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