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Financial Crimes

6 Cali Cartel family members indicted for interfering with federal investigation

MIAMI - Six members of the Rodriguez-Orejuela family were charged on Feb. 25 with two federal indictments, one for conspiring to impede a federal investigation and the other for making false statements to U.S. authorities.

Jaime Rodriguez-Mondragon; Humberto Rodriguez-Mondragon; Maria Alexandra Rodriguez-Mondragon; Amparo Rodriguez-Orejuela, a/k/a "Amparo Rodriguez de Gil;" Angela Maria Gil-Rodriguez; and Ana Maria Gil-Rodriguez were charged with conspiring to impede the lawful functions of the U.S. Department of Treasury and the U.S. Department of Justice regarding an investigation into assets owned or controlled by defendants Miguel and Gilberto Rodriguez-Orejuela.

The six family members were also charged with making false statements to U.S. authorities regarding these assets.

The indictment is a result of an ongoing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Drug Enforcement Authority (DEA) investigation initiated in 1991, targeting the Cali Cartel and identifying the assets of cartel leaders' families that were obtained through illicit activities.

"Today's indictment is yet another example of how ICE will continue to work with its law enforcement partners to disrupt the flow of drugs, bring criminals to justice, and dismantle criminal networks that profit from narcotics trafficking," said Anthony Mangione, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Miami.

At its peak in the 1980s and 1990s, the Cali Cartel was responsible for distribution of a majority of the world's supply of cocaine. As a result of Operation Cornerstone, the leaders of the Cali Cartel, Miguel and Gilberto, who are brothers, were indicted and convicted in the Southern District of Florida. If convicted, the defendants face a statutory maximum penalty of five years in prison on each count.

The Rodriguez-Orejuela brothers pleaded guilty in September 2006, and are currently serving lengthy prison sentences in the United States. As part of the plea agreement, the U.S. government obtained a forfeiture judgment of $2.1 billion against the brothers, representing the proceeds of the Rodriguez-Orejuela's narcotics trafficking operation.

As part of the plea agreement, Miguel and Gilberto agreed to disclose all assets owned or controlled by, for, or on their behalf and/or a member of their family, even if the asset was not derived from illicit sources, and agreed to assist in the forfeiture of property.

In exchange, the U.S. government agreed to remove the defendants from the Department of Treasury's list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons, a list of persons subject to financial sanctions by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

In addition, the U.S. government agreed not to prosecute defendants Jaime Rodriguez-Mondragon, Humberto Rodriguez-Mondragon, and Maria Alexandra Rodriguez-Mondragon for money laundering offenses.

This most recent indictment alleges that the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to omit assets from the lists of assets provided to the U.S. government and instead, continued to enjoy and benefit from hidden assets even after signing the agreement. All defendants charged on Feb. 25 are family members of the Rodriguez-Orejuela brothers.

"Some cases never really go away, but sprout long and twisted tentacles," said U.S. Attorney Jeffrey H. Sloman. "Today, we see the results of one family's continued disregard for the law. You cannot make an agreement, break it, and expect to walk away."

"These defendants are not just family members of the infamous drug trafficking Rodriguez-Orejuela brothers; they are conspirators," said DEA Miami Field Division Special Agent in Charge Mark R. Trouville. "They will be held accountable for violating their agreement with the U.S. government."

 "We are pleased to have lent our financial investigative expertise to this investigation," said IRS Special Agent in Charge Daniel W. Auer. "This case is but another example of the successes that occur when law enforcement agencies combine resources to trace assets and deprive drug trafficking organizations of their illicit profits."

The investigation was conducted by ICE's Office of Investigations in Miami, DEA Miami Field Division, and the IRS Criminal Investigation Division with the cooperative efforts of the Colombian authorities and the Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Morales.