Statement From DEA Administrator Karen P. Tandy on Operation Double Trouble
AUG 29 -- Today, along with Southern District of Florida United States Attorney Marcos Daniel Jimenez, we are announcing the culmination of a four-year, international, drug and money laundering investigation named Operation Double Trouble. This operation successfully targeted and disrupted key Colombian drug and money brokers who operated between the United States and Colombia. Over the past three days, United States and Colombian law enforcement personnel in a coordinated enforcement effort have arrested 28 individuals and seized a total of 36 bank accounts from 11 Colombian banks.
Double Trouble began in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 1999 and expanded to five states and two continents. This was an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation conducted by DEA, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Department of Justice, along with state and local law enforcement agencies and U.S Attorney's Offices in Florida, New York, Connecticut, Illinois, California, and Puerto Rico. In addition to the arrests and seizures that have taken place this week, this operation is also responsible for the seizure of over $12.8 million, 353 kilograms of cocaine, 21 kilograms of heroin, and the arrest of 27 drug traffickers and money brokers.
The initial target was Ivan Henao, who was arrested yesterday in South Florida by DEA agents, and his Colombia-based money laundering and cocaine trafficking organization. The Henao Organization was one of 53 criminal organizations designated by the Attorney General as a Consolidated Priority Organization Target (CPOT). CPOT is a list of the "World's Most Wanted" drug and money laundering enterprises responsible for the most significant supply of drugs to the United States.
Henao was well-known among Colombian drug trafficking cells operating in the United States as a drug money broker. At least 18 drug distribution cells throughout the United States were using Henao's money laundering services. The investigation documented that, from June 1999 to the present, the Henao Organization laundered at least $30 million in drug proceeds using a money laundering system known as the Black Market Peso Exchange (BMPE). The BMPE is the largest known drug money laundering system existing in the Western Hemisphere and is responsible for converting the bulk of the drug currency that leaves the United States for Colombia. The system enables Colombian drug cartels to exchange their U.S. drug dollars with Colombian money brokers who pay them in pesos in Colombia. Additionally, this organization used a number of small businesses in both countries to launder their ill-gotten gains.
Double Trouble signals a reenergized effort by DEA to attack the financial infrastructure of drug cartels. We are focusing on drug trafficking organizations as if they are Fortune 500 companies, which must be eliminated as single business entities from top to bottom, from the boardroom and purse strings, to the street corner.
This operation would not have been a success without the cooperation of our law enforcement partners in the United States and in Colombia, along with various U.S. Attorney's Offices across the country and the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice. Drug trafficking is an international effort. Drug enforcement must be as well.
In conclusion, I would like to thank the following agencies who participated in this important operation:
and Local Partners - The Department de Seguridad (DAS) in Colombia
- The Department de Seguridad (DAS) in Colombia