June 5 (UPI) -- The U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctioned the Rincon Castillo drug trafficking organization Tuesday.
In a statement, the Treasury said it also sanctioned Pedro Rincon Castillo, the "nefarious" leader of the organization and a key Colombian criminal associate, Horacio de Jesus Triana Romero, under the Kingpin Act.
The Treasury Department also sanctioned seven other Colombians for providing material support to or acting on behalf of the Rincon Castillo organization and seven Colombian companies that are owned or controlled by the designated individuals or the organization.
"[The] 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," Sigal Mandelker, undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement.
"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."
According to the Treasury Department, Pedro Rincon Castillo regularly transported cocaine shipments from Colombia to Venezuela, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and elsewhere, with the intention to import them into the United States, since at least 2002.
The drug trafficking organization's leader operates cocaine laboratories in the Boyacá area of Colombia, -- where the group also owns emerald mines and related companies that launder illicit money, the U.S. government said.
The organization includes relatives and close associates of Castillo, including Romero, who is Castillo's brother-in-law, the Treasury said.
"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," Mandelker said.