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Clinton Announces New Initiative Against Global Drug Trafficking Syndicates at U.N. Conference, Signs Order Barring Individuals and Companies From Trade and Commerce


December 1995

President Clinton used his speech before the 50th anniversary meeting of the United Nations in New York to propose new measures to reduce the ability of drug trafficking cartels and other organized crime groups to do business in the U.S. and around the world.

"These forces [drug traffickers] jeopardize the global trend toward peace and freedom, undermine fragile new democracies, sap the strength from developing countries, threaten our efforts to build a safer, more prosperous world," he said in his address on October 22.

Clinton's proposals were targeted not only at drug trafficking organizations, but also at other forms of international organized crime such as terrorist groups:

Money Laundering. The U.S. will research and identify those countries that are used most frequently to launder drug and other criminal funds. If the country refuses to adopt anti-laundering measures, the U.S. will take economic sanctions against them and encourage other countries to do the same. "Criminal enterprises are moving vast sums of illgotten gains through the international financial systems with absolute impunity. We must not allow them to wash the blood off profits from the sale of drugs from terror or organized crimes," he said.

Front Companies. Clinton signed an Executive Order that calls for the identification of all individuals involved in Colombian drug trafficking and any legitimate businesses that have ties to Colombian trafficking organizations. Individuals and companies in the U.S. will not be able to trade with members of the list, and any legitimate companies in the U.S. with ties to international trafficking organizations will have their assets frozen.

International Cooperation. The U.S. will prepare and disseminate an international declaration for countries to sign to pledge their assistance and commitment to stopping international organized crime, including drug trafficking.

Legislation. Clinton asked the Attorney General and the Secretaries of State and Treasury to develop new legislation extending the power of U.S. law enforcement to investigate branches of international organized crime in the U.S.

The Executive Order freezing the assets of "front companies" was initiated when Clinton declared a national emergency of security, foreign policy, and economy under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

Four principal individuals -- Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela, Miguel Angel Rodriguez Orejuela, Jose Santacruz Londono, and Helmer Herrera Buitrago -- and 80 companies and other individuals have been named in the Executive Order and by the Treasury Department as known Colombian drug traffickers or connections. The list includes drug store chains, holding companies, import-export corporations, small stores in Colombia, car dealerships, and the individuals who manage these companies and the members of the board of directors of these companies. Clinton ordered the Secretary of the Treasury, the Attorney General, and the Secretary of State to identify other traffickers or supporting organizations to add to the list.

The order freezes these individuals' and organizations' assets in the U.S. and in U.S. bank branches overseas and prohibits legitimate U.S. companies and individuals from having any financial transactions with them. In essence, the order shuts off contact between the organizations and the legitimate U.S. financial market.

"These measures demonstrate firmly and decisively the commitment of the United States to end the scourge that such traffickers have wrought upon society in the United States and beyond," Clinton wrote in a letter to Congress. "The magnitude and dimension of the current problem warrant utilizing all available tools to wrest the destructive hold that these traffickers have on society and governments."

[Copies of the Executive Order and supporting press conference transcripts and fact sheets can be ordered from the White House Publications Fax Line at 202-395-9088. Request the following documents: 10133, 10135, and 10136. You can also call the National Drug Strategy Network office for copies.]