Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced sanctions Tuesday targeting the Clan del Golfo drug cartel. Pool Photo by Al Drago/UPI | License Photo
Dec. 1 (UPI) -- The Trump administration on Tuesday sanctioned a network of Colombian nationals and businesses for aiding the international narcotics trafficking activities of the Clan del Golfo drug cartel.
The U.S. Treasury and State Department announced Tuesday that they designated Jhon Fredy Zapata Garzon and three of his family members and associates along with four businesses they control under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act.
"Criminal organizations trafficking cocaine and other drugs are a threat to the safety of the American people," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said. "Treasury will continue to use its authorities to identify and disrupt dangerous criminal organizations."
The Treasury accused Zapata Garzon of being "an important drug trafficker" who is responsible for facilitating the shipment of thousands of kilos of cocaine on behalf of the Clan del Golfo, which was designated under the Kingpin Act by the Obama administration in May of 2013 when the organization was still called Los Urabenos.
Zapata Garzon is accused by the Treasury of shipping approximately 4,500 kilos of cocaine in the fall of 2018. The Treasury also said he provided campaign support and funding to unnamed mayoral candidates in several Colombian municipalities.
Distriecor, Fresno Home, Las Ingenierias and Multioperaciones de Occidente were the four businesses sanctioned by the Trump administration on Tuesday.
Tatiana Marguerid Zapata Garzon, Zapata Garzon's sister and majority shareholder, legal representative and business manager of Fresno Home; Euclides Correa Salas, Zapata Garzon's brother-in-law who has worked as his financial operator and is the sole shareholder of Distriecor; and Einer Murillo Palacios, a money launderer and 60% shareholder of Occidente, were also designated under the Kingpin Act.
The Treasury said Salas and Palacios are accused of being close associates of Zapata Garzon and act as his trusted advisors on drug trafficking and money laundering.
The sanctions freeze all U.S. property and assets in their names as well as block Americans from doing business with them.
"We remain committed to combating drug trafficking globally to protect American citizens and supporting our Colombian partners," U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said via Twitter.
Since 2000, the United States has designated more than 2,100 entities and individuals under the Kingpin Act.