News Release
September 26, 2006

Karen P. Tandy
Orejuela Press Conference
Department of Justice
Washington, D.C.
September 26, 2006 2:00 p.m.

Administrator Tandy often departs from prepared remarks

Today will go down in history as the last nail in the Cali Cartel’s coffin.

Every year, DEA arrests thousands of significant drug traffickers—almost 30,000 last year alone—some of them among the world’s most wanted. But it doesn’t get any bigger than this: bringing to justice the two remaining founders of the notorious Cali cartel: Miguel and Gilberto Rodriguez-Orejuela.

Today’s guilty pleas show that when law enforcement and countries like Colombia band together, drug dynasties topple, including those which once thought themselves impervious to the rule of law -- one after another. From the ruthless Medellin Cartel to the once powerful Cali Cartel. And their successors – the Norte Valle Cartel, which tried to pick up where the Medellin and Cali Cartels left off – is now fragmented and splintered with its key leaders facing U.S. charges. And, the entire leadership of the FARC which has been charged in the U.S. and is trying to avoid the same inevitable fate as the cartels before it.

For decades, the Rodriguez-Orejuela brothers defined the label “kingpin.” During little more than a decade, their Cali cartel sold at least 30,000 kilos of cocaine and amassed an illicit fortune worth in excess of $1 billion.

There’s no doubt if these brother drug lords were legitimate, they’d be in the top tier of the Forbes list of the richest people in the world. But their drug fortune became their Achilles heel and the hundreds of pharmacies that once concealed and sheltered their drug profits only paved the way for ultimate American justice to be administered to the Orejuela brothers today.

Gilberto was known as the “Chess Player” for his ability to stay ahead of his rivals and law enforcement. To the “Chess Player” we have just one last thing to say: “Check-Mate.”