U.S. Sanctions FARC Members for Swiss-Based Operation

The United States on Thursday sanctioned four members of a Colombian rebel group for their alleged role in narcotics trafficking and money laundering in Switzerland.

The sanctions freeze any assets of the four may have under U.S. jurisdiction, and prohibits Americans or U.S. entities from engaging in transactions with them.

All were alleged to be members of the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or FARC, the country's largest rebel group.

The Treasury Department charges that the four worked for the FARC's representative for France, Italy and Switzerland, Omar Arturo Zabala Padilla, operating a drug trafficking and money laundering network through a Zurich-based shop, Colombiano Latin Shop.

They were named as Jose Vicente Pena Pacheco, Adolfo Fonnegra Espejo, Ivan Gonzalez Zamorano and Cristian David Gonzalez Mejia. Zabala Padilla was sanctioned in 2009.

The United States declared the FARC, or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, a narcotics trafficker in 2003 and a terrorist organization in 1997.

“Today’s action combats the FARC’s efforts to finance its ruthless operation and expand the flow of drugs to U.S. and world markets,” John Smith, who heads the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, said in the statement.

The FARC has been in peace talks in Havana with the Colombian government since November 2012.

Source: Agence France Presse

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