Juan Carlos Ramírez Abadía
|Juan Carlos Ramírez Abadía|
February 16, 1963 |
|Other names||Chupeta, Cien, Don Augusto, El Patron, Gustavo Ortiz, Charlie Pareja|
|Drug trafficking and smuggling, racketeering, money laundering|
|Arrested / Extradited|
Juan Carlos Ramírez Abadía (Alias "Chupeta") (born February 16, 1963 in Palmira, Colombia) is a drug trafficker who, until his capture, was one of the leaders of the North Valley Cartel (Norte del Valle Cartel), who was wanted on drug smuggling, murder and RICO charges in the United States of America. In addition to the trafficking of cocaine, it is believed Abadia also participated in money laundering and trafficking of heroin. Through Abadias' illegal enterprise, he has amassed a fortune estimated at $1.8 billion by the US Department of State. He has been cited as "... one of the most powerful and most elusive drug traffickers in Colombia" by Adam J. Szubin, Director of the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
On August 7, 2007 Ramírez Abadía was arrested in São Paulo, Brazil, in an exclusive area called Aldeia da Serra. On March 13, 2008, the Supreme Federal Court of Brazil granted his extradition to the United States. "Chupeta" was extradited to the United States on Friday, August 22, 2008.
Relations to Cali cartel
Abadia is believed to have entered into drug trafficking in 1986 under the Cali Cartel, named after the area they operated out of, Cali Colombia, where it is believed Abadia operated his drug trafficking empire. By the mid-1990s he was believed to have smuggled "multi-thousand kilograms of cocaine" yearly into San Antonio, Texas and Los Angeles, California through Mexico. Abadias' operation is believed to rely on shipping containers and go-fast boats primarily, making use of routes along the Pacific Coast. Once the drugs arrive in their destination in the United States, it is then believed they are transported to New York City, where distribution cells controlled by Abadia then sell the product. During the mid-1990s Abadia was believed to be the youngest leader of the Cali cartel.
Abadia surrendered in March 1996 to Colombian officials and was sentenced to 24 years in prison. It is believed Abadia surrendered due to a fear for his personal safety and to be eligible for a more lenient prison sentence. Prior to his arrest, it is estimated Abadia smuggled a total of twenty metric tons of cocaine. The United States Department of State believes Abadia continued his operation and control over smuggling throughout his time in prison, and continued upon his early release in 2002. In 2003, the US State Department believes Abadia expanded his operation and began smuggling heroin into the US through ships. It is also believed Abadia began to associate himself with the Norte del Valle cartel upon his release from prison.
Law enforcement actions
In November 1994, Abadia was indicted in the District of Colorado,in 2004 in the Eastern District of New York and, again indicted in 2006 in Eastern District of New York. Between state indictments a federal jury in March, 2004 brought forth a federal indictment on RICO charges, for his leadership in the Norte del Valle cartel, and drug trafficking. Requests from the Department of State to Colombia for the extradition of Abadia have been denied. A provisional arrest warrant has been issued and sent to the U.S. Embassy in Bogotá, as well as, a 5 million dollar bounty placed on Abadia for his arrest.
In August 2000 the U.S. Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) declared Abadia a "Specially Designated Narcotics Trafficker," allowing the seizure of funds connected to, or stemming from his illegal activities. The OFAC announced on August 29, 2006, the seizure of assets from two companies related to Abadia, a pharmaceutical distribution company, Disdrogas Ltda. and a Colombian holdings company, Ramirez Abadia y Cia. S.C.S. Disdrogas Ltda., originally named Ramirez y Cia. Ltda', was operated by Abadias' parents Omar Ramírez Ponce and Carmen Alicia Abadía Bastidas, and his business associates Jorge Rodrigo Salinas Cuevas and Edgar Marino Otalora Restrepo. The now defunct Ramirez Abadia y Cia. S.C.S was believed to be used to hold real estate and other assets for Abadia.
In January 2007, Colombian officials stepped up efforts to combat the drug cartels in a series of raids targeting their financial holdings. In a one week period Colombian officials discovered over $54 million in cash and gold ingots, hidden in buildings in the south-eastern portion of Cali. The stash of money and gold was located in vacuum sealed plastic bags inside locked steel chambers covered in concrete which was tiled over. The residents of the houses were arrested and taken into custody. The $54 million was only a portion of the estimated $1.8 billion estimated fortune.
On August 7, 2007, Abadia was arrested in Aldeia da Serra, a wealthy neighborhood of Barueri, state of São Paulo, by Brazilian Federal Police during a raid. An auction of his belongings following his arrest led to an enormous queue of Brazilians trying to get their hands on one of the drug lord's goods.
- Cali Cartel
- Cuba-United States relations
- Narcotrafficking in Colombia
- Norte del Valle Cartel
- Medellín Cartel
- "Juan Carlos Ramirez-Abadia". United States Department of State.
- "U.S. Department of Treasury Designation Targets Elusive North Valle Cartel Leader". United States Embassy in Bogota Colombia. August 29, 2006.
- "Treasury Designation Targets Elusive North Valle Cartel Leader". United States Treasury. August 29, 2006.
- Jeremy McDermott (February 7, 2007). "Drug lord's $19m cash seized by police". The Telegraph.
- "Capturan en Brasil a alias 'Chupeta'". Caracol Radio. August 7, 2007.
- "PF faz 'pente-fino' em casa de traficante em condomínio de luxo". TV Globo. August 7, 2007.
- "Supremo concede extradição a megatraficante Abadía". Última Instância. March 13, 2008.
- "Brazil extradites Colombian drug lord to U.S.". Associated Press. August 22, 2008.
- James Milford Deputy Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (July 16, 1997). "DEA Congressional Testimony". United States Drug Enforcement Agency.
- "United States Announces RICO Charges Against Leadership of Colombia's Most Powerful Cocaine Cartel". United States Department of Justice. May 6, 2004.
- Jeremy McDermott (February 5, 2007). "Police haul adds to drug baron's woes". The New Scotsman.
- Donna Miles (January 19, 2007). "Pace, Colombian Leaders Address Drug Trafficking, Narcoterrorism". American Forces Press Service.
- "Colombian police confiscate 54 million dollars". Monsters & Critics. January 17, 2007.
- "Brazil nabs Colombian drug lord wanted in U.S.". Reuters. August 7, 2007.
- "Juan Carlos Ramirez Abadía’s underpants sell out fast". Colombia Reports. April 10, 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-10.[dead link]