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U.S. Treasury lists rightist Colombian warlords as drug traffickers

U.S. Treasury lists rightist Colombian warlords as drug traffickers

The U.S. government on Thursday froze the assets of four Colombian paramilitary leaders, accusing them of being major drug traffickers.
The action could complicate the government's already fragile efforts to tame the illegal militias by convincing their leaders to disarm in exchange for reduced sentences and other benefits.
The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control put the four on its list of "specially designated narcotics traffickers." That freezes any assets they have in U.S. jurisdictions and bans Americans from doing business with them or their front companies _ listed as a real estate agency and health clubs.
Two of those named Thursday, Ramiro Vanoy Murillo and Francisco Javier Zuluaga, are taking part in a peace deal with the government that has them disband their militias in exchange for eased prison terms and a promise of no extradition to the United States.
Treasury also listed brothers Miguel and Victor Mejia Munera, who abandoned the peace process and are currently on the run.
The U.S. issued extradition warrants against for the two in 2004, saying at the time they had shipped nearly 70 tons of cocaine in just two years. The U.S. government also has offered a US$5 million (euro3.7 million) bounty for Miguel Mejia Munera.
The Treasury statement did not mention that the four were leaders of far-right paramilitary bands in an alliance that the U.S. State Department has already described as a "foreign terrorist organization."
The paramilitaries were formed by drug traffickers and landowners in an attempt to reclaim Colombia's countryside from leftist rebels.
They have carried out some of the most brutal massacres in Colombia's recent history and the government has convinced many to formally disarm, though there are reports that some are dealing drugs and ordering killings from prison.


Updated : 2021-04-11 06:49 GMT+08:00