On 27 February 2014, OFAC designated Hugo Cuellar Hurtado, a dual Colombian-Mexican national, under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (the “Kingpin Act”). According to the US, Cuellar Hurtado provides material support, primarily in the form of supplying and shipping cocaine, to the Sinaloa Cartel and one of its leaders, Juan Jose Esparragoza Morena, both of which have previously been designated under the Kingpin Act. In addition to Cuellar Hurtado, OFAC designated five of his relatives and his asset manager in Colombia, as well as 10 companies, four of which are located in Mexico and six in Colombia.
In a separate action, on 19 February 2014, OFAC designated Colombian national Fernain Rodriguez Vasquez as a significant narcotics trafficker under the Kingpin Act. According to the US, Rodriguez Vasquez is the leader of international drug trafficking and money laundering operations that have exported nearly 100 tons of cocaine a year from their base in Colombia, and he is known to collaborate with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (commonly known as FARC) and Mexico’s Los Zetas and Sinaloa Cartels, all three of which are designated drug trafficking entities. The US asserts that Rodriguez Vasquez has connections to multiple individuals already designated under the Kingpin Act, including Jorge Fadlallah Cheaitelly, a Lebanese-Colombian national, and seven individuals indicted in the Eastern District of Texas on February 14 2013, on drug trafficking offences. OFAC also designated seven other individuals and five entities in Colombia that the US believes provide support to Rodriguez Vasquez’s drug trafficking activities.
At the same time, OFAC deleted from its list of Specially Designated Nationals (“SDN”) seven individuals and entities located in Colombia who had previously been designated either under the Kingpin Act or the Narcotics Trafficking Sanctions Regulations.