Processadoro Campofresco, Inc., a Puerto Rican fruit juice processor and packager, has agreed to pay to OFAC $27,000 in connection with its purchase of passion fruit juice and pulp from a Colombian company designated under OFAC’s narcotics trafficking sanctions. This may represent the only time someone has been broken the law by buying fruit juice from a drug dealer.
Of course, when you look into this further, it’s not clear that “Frutas Exoticas Colombiana S.A.” — the Specially Designated Narcotics Trafficker (“SDNT”) involved — is in fact a drug dealer. Leaving aside that the OFAC notice announcing the settlement botched the name of the SDNT involved, which is actually (and more grammatically) Frutas Exoticas Colombianas S.A., the drug dealers in question have been out of the picture since 2005, when the Colombian Government kicked out Lorena Henao Montoya, the widow of narcotics trafficker Ivan Urdinola Grajales, and took over their holdings in Frutas Exoticas. The Colombian government did this in response to OFAC’s designation order several months before in an effort to keep the company alive and to protect its innocent workers and their families. So, in fact, this case involves getting fined for buying passion fruit juice from the Colombian government.
OFAC knows this, of course, and issued a release stating that it would consider licenses on a case-by-case basis for dealings with Frutas Exoticas. This doesn’t help Campofresco, which, of course, did not apply for a license in the first place. Still it raises a number of questions. To begin with, what would OFAC look at on this case-by-case basis now that the government owns Frutas Exoticas? The type of fruit juice involved? Pineapple versus passion fruit? (Passion fruit, I suppose, being presumptively evil for the name, if nothing else.) The party of the President of Colombia? His birthdate and astrological sign?
The biggest question, of course, is this: what remains to be served by keeping a company once owned by narcos, but now seized and owned by the government, on the list at all? The answer appears to be that nothing is served unless the idea is to punish the Colombian workers who harvest the fruit and mash the pulp for the bad judgment of having been employed by a company once owned by a narcotics trafficker.