By Alfa · Sep 18, 2004 · ·
  1. Alfa

    Colombia Seizes Firms, Homes, Drug Store Chain

    MEDELLIN, Colombia - Two of Colombia's most powerful drug lords were
    trapped in prison cells yesterday, as the state seized their fortune
    estimated at more than $280 million.

    About 3,200 police and more than 450 prosecutors took assets belonging
    to brothers Gilberto and Miguel Rodriguez Orejuela, the heads of the
    Cali drug cartel, which before their arrest in 1995 was one of the
    most powerful and sophisticated crime syndicates in the world.

    "This is the largest asset seizure operation in the history of the
    country," said a spokesman for the attorney general's office.

    Among the 3,000 assets being occupied by the state are houses,
    companies and a national chain of pharmacies, Droga La Rebaja. All 432
    branches of the chain, which means "Discount Drugs" in English, have
    been taken over by the state.

    The seizures are part of an economic offensive by President Alvaro
    Uribe. He passed legislation allowing for the speedy confiscation and
    sale of assets derived from the profits of drugs trafficking.

    The government needs to sell the drug barons' properties to fill a
    gaping hole in the budget as the president fights a relentless war
    against the warring factions that have been trying to overthrow the
    state for 40 years.

    As the authorities prepared for the seizure, Gilberto Rodriguez
    Orejuela, known in the underworld as the "Chess Player" for his
    ability to plan ahead of his opponents, was in court again. Surrounded
    by 15 heavily armed prison guards, he was answering charges of
    organizing from his prison cell a consignment to the United States of
    150 kilograms of cocaine. His brother has already been convicted on
    the same charges.

    Miguel Rodriguez Orejuela's son, William, is wanted on drug
    trafficking charges.

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  1. enquirewithin
    This is politics not a real fight against drugs. I have heard that everyone in the Colombian government is related to the cocaine trade in some way.
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