U.S. tags Guatemalan as a drug trafficker

April 13, 2012

The Washington Times on April 12, 2012 released the following:

“By Jerry Seper

Guatemalan national Horst Walter Overdick Mejia, described by U.S. law enforcement authorities as a “critical link” in the drug trade between Colombian producers and the violent Mexican drug cartel Los Zetas, has been named by the State Department as a “specially designated narcotics trafficker.”

The designation, under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, prohibits U.S. persons and corporations from conducting financial or commercial transactions with this person and freezes any assets he may have under U.S. jurisdiction.

Last week, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York unsealed an indictment naming Overdick Mejia on charges of narcotics trafficking and firearms violations. He was arrested April 3 in Guatemala and accused of being the head of a major drug trafficking and money laundering organization based in Guatemala.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration officials described Overdick Mejia as a veteran spice buyer who used his local contacts and his legitimate business acumen to smuggle thousands of kilograms of cocaine to Mexico and on into the United States.

Many authorities blame Overdick Mejia for bringing Los Zetas into Guatemala in 2008 to eliminate a competing trafficker and later becoming their most important ally in Guatemala. He also laundered millions of U.S. dollars in narcotics proceeds generated by both his own organization as well as Los Zetas, the authorities said.

“These are necessary tools we use to ensure that we put dangerous drug trafficking organizations out of business and ensure they cannot exploit the U.S. financial system,” said John Arvanitis, DEA chief of financial operations. “Overdick Mejia was a vital link between Colombian drug producers and Mexican cartels such as Los Zetas.

“This case is yet another example of the united front that law enforcement and regulators must utilize to ensure that organizations such as this one are put out of business forever,” he said.

Adam J. Szubin, Treasury’s director of the office of foreign assets control (OFAC), said Overdick Mejia’s drug trafficking activities and close ties to the Los Zetas “makes him a dangerous and critical figure in the Central American narcotics trade.

“By designating Overdick Mejia, OFAC is demonstrating its support for the Guatemalan government in its struggle against the threats and violence posed by these international drug gangs,” he said.

DEA and OFAC coordinated the Overdick Mejia designation action with federal prosecutors in New York. The action was part of ongoing efforts involving the Kingpin Act to apply financial measures against significant foreign narcotics traffickers and their organizations worldwide. The Treasury Department has designated more than 1,000 persons and entities under the Kingpin Act since June 2000.

Penalties for violations of the Kingpin Act range from fines of up to $1.075 million per violation to more severe criminal penalties. Criminal penalties for corporate officers may include up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $5 million. Criminal fines for corporations may reach $10 million. Others face up to 10 years in prison and fines.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
OFAC SDN Removal Videos:

OFAC Litigation – SDN List Removal

OFAC SDN List Removal

OFAC SDN Removal Attorneys

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Specially Designated Narcotics Trafficking Kingpin [SDNTK] Entries Added to OFAC’s SDN List on April 10, 2012

April 10, 2012
OFAC SDN - SDNTK Horst Walter Overdick Mejia

Today, OFAC has added [SDNTK] Entries to the Specially Designated Nationals List (SDN List):

The following [SDNTK] entries have been added to OFAC’s SDN list:

OVERDICK MEJIA, Horst Walter (a.k.a. OVERDICK MEJIA, Walther; a.k.a. “TIGRE”), KM 208, Ruta Hacia, Coban, Guatemala; DOB 31 Jul 1967; alt. DOB 31 Jul 1968; citizen Guatemala; nationality Guatemala; Identification Number 0-16 Reg 53089 (Guatemala); alt. Identification Number 0-16 89159 (Guatemala); NIT # 702787-7 (individual) [SDNTK]

OVERDICK MEJIA, Walther (a.k.a. OVERDICK MEJIA, Horst Walter; a.k.a. “TIGRE”), KM 208, Ruta Hacia, Coban, Guatemala; DOB 31 Jul 1967; alt. DOB 31 Jul 1968; citizen Guatemala; nationality Guatemala; Identification Number 0-16 Reg 53089 (Guatemala); alt. Identification Number 0-16 89159 (Guatemala); NIT # 702787-7 (individual) [SDNTK]

TIGRE (a.k.a. OVERDICK MEJIA, Horst Walter; a.k.a. OVERDICK MEJIA, Walther), KM 208, Ruta Hacia, Coban, Guatemala; DOB 31 Jul 1967; alt. DOB 31 Jul 1968; citizen Guatemala; nationality Guatemala; Identification Number 0-16 Reg 53089 (Guatemala); alt. Identification Number 0-16 89159 (Guatemala); NIT # 702787-7 (individual) [SDNTK]

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Treasury Targets Top Guatemalan Drug Trafficker tied to Los Zetas

4/10/2012

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today announced the designation of Guatemalan national Horst Walter Overdick Mejia, a critical link in the drug trade between Colombian producers and the violent Mexican drug cartel Los Zetas, as a specially designated narcotics trafficker. Today’s action, taken pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act), prohibits U.S. persons from conducting financial or commercial transactions with this individual and freezes any assets the designee may have under U.S. jurisdiction.

Last week, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York unsealed an indictment of Overdick Mejia for his narcotics trafficking and related firearms activities. On April 3, Guatemalan authorities arrested Overdick Mejia, the head of a major drug trafficking and money laundering organization based in Guatemala. A veteran spice buyer, he used his local contacts and his business acumen to smuggle thousands of kilograms of cocaine to Mexico and on into the United States. It is widely believed that Overdick Mejia is responsible for bringing Los Zetas into Guatemala in 2008 in order to eliminate a competing trafficker and who later became their most important ally in Guatemala. He also laundered millions of U.S. dollars in narcotics proceeds generated by both his own organization as well as Los Zetas.

“Overdick Mejia’s drug trafficking activities and close ties to the Los Zetas makes him a dangerous and critical figure in the Central American narcotics trade,” said OFAC Director Adam J. Szubin. “By designating Overdick Mejia, OFAC is demonstrating its support for the Guatemalan government in its struggle against the threats and violence posed by these international drug gangs.”

OFAC coordinated this designation action with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. Today’s action is part of ongoing efforts pursuant to the Kingpin Act to apply financial measures against significant foreign narcotics traffickers and their organizations worldwide. The Treasury Department has designated more than 1,000 individuals and entities pursuant to the Kingpin Act since June 2000.

“These are necessary tools we use to ensure that we put dangerous drug trafficking organizations out of business and ensure they cannot exploit the U.S. financial system,” said DEA Chief of Financial Operations John Arvanitis. “Overdick Mejia was a vital link between Colombian drug producers and Mexican cartels such as Los Zetas. This case is yet another example of the united front that law enforcement and regulators must utilize to ensure that organizations such as this one are put out of business forever.”

Penalties for violations of the Kingpin Act range from civil penalties of up to $1.075 million per violation to more severe criminal penalties. Criminal penalties for corporate officers may include up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $5 million. Criminal fines for corporations may reach $10 million. Other individuals face up to 10 years in prison and fines pursuant to Title 18 of the United States Code for criminal violations of the Kingpin Act.

Click here for the chart of the Mejia network.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
OFAC SDN Removal Videos:

OFAC Litigation – SDN List Removal

OFAC SDN List Removal

OFAC SDN Removal Attorneys

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Ex-McKinsey Consultant Banki’s Conviction Reversed in Part

October 26, 2011
Mahmoud Reza Banki

Business Week on October 24, 2011 released the following:

“By Bob Van Voris and Patricia Hurtado

(Updates with hearing date in 14th paragraph.)

Oct. 24 (Bloomberg) — Former McKinsey & Co. consultant Mahmoud Reza Banki’s convictions for violating the Iran trade embargo and running an unlicensed money-transfer business were thrown out on appeal.

A federal appeals court in New York today reversed Banki’s June 2010 conviction on three counts that charged him with violating U.S. regulations barring trade with Iran and running an informal transfer business called a hawala.

The court upheld Banki’s convictions on two counts of lying in response to a subpoena from the U.S. Treasury Department about the matter. The court said prosecutors may retry Banki on two of the three overturned counts.

Banki, who has been in U.S. custody since his arrest in January 2010, has served most of his 30-month sentence and is due to be released no later than March, according to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons website.

The decision today may affect the government’s attempt to collect $3.3 million in asset forfeitures it’s seeking in connection with the overturned criminal charges.

Banki, 35, is a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Iran. He has a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Princeton University.

‘Life Back Together’

“He’s going to be able to put his life back together and live a very productive life,” said Baruch Weiss, a lawyer for Banki.

Banki used a system called a hawala, popular in the Middle East and South Asia, to transfer funds, according to the appeals court.

U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin, writing for a three-judge appeals panel, said Banki’s family transferred $3.4 million to him from Iran. He received as many as 56 hawala transfers into his bank account from 44 different people and companies over more than three years, Chin said.

In a hawala, money doesn’t physically move through the banking system across borders. Instead, customers transfer funds to operators known as hawaladars in one country, and corresponding funds are distributed by associate hawaladars in another country. The parallel accounts are later settled by the hawaladars in a variety of ways.

Defense lawyers claimed Banki didn’t violate the law because he got the money from his family and reported the funds to the U.S. government.

“This is a vindication of the defense,” Weiss said of the appeals court decision.

Ellen Davis, a spokeswoman for Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, said his office was reviewing the opinion and had no further comment.

U.S. District Judge John Keenan set a hearing in the case for Nov. 2, according to Weiss.

The case is U.S. v. Banki, 1:10-CR-00008, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
OFAC SDN Removal Videos:

OFAC Litigation – SDN List Removal

OFAC SDN List Removal

OFAC SDN Removal Attorneys

————————————————————–

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.