ACCESSION NUMBER:244842 FILE ID:POL105 DATE:09/28/92 TITLE:CALI DRUG CARTEL TIE WITH MAFIA VERIFIED (09/28/92) TEXT:*92092805.POL CALI DRUG CARTEL TIE WITH MAFIA VERIFIED (DEA chief says 150 jailed, $44 million seized) (650) By Louise Fenner 1SIA Staff Writer Washington -- A multinational law enforcement operation has disrupted the money laundering activities of the Cali drug cartel and confirmed the Colombian link with the Sicilian Mafia and other criminal organizations in Italy. The two-year undercover operation involved seven other countries, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) chief Robert Bonner told a September 28 news conference. So far, he said, more than 150 persons have been arrested, including seven of the most important financial operatives of the Cali cartel, and $44 million in cartel assets seized. The majority of arrests were in the United States, but Italian authorities also arrested 30 persons and seized $1 million. Colombia, Spain, Costa Rica, Britain, Canada, and the Caymen Islands also participated in the investigation, known as "Operation Green Ice," contributing to the total number of arrests and seizures. "The cash seizures in Italy and England and Spain were in their own currencies, which indicates that these are proceeds of sales of Colombian cocaine in the various countries of Europe," Bonner said. "What's been established here is the Colombian connection with the Sicilian Mafia and other organized crime elements in Italy." He said these criminal organizations are acquiring "large amounts of cocaine" from the Cali cartel "for distribution primarily in Italy and throughout Europe." Luigi Rossi, deputy director of the Italian National Police, said that the investigation conducted by the police and the Italian intelligence service SISDE demonstrated the Colombian cartels' links to three Italian criminal organizations -- the Sicilian Mafia; the Camorra, a group based in Naples; and the 'Ndrangheta, located in the Calabria region. Bonner said Operation Green Ice identified "seven of the top-ranking financial managers for the Cali cartel," all Colombian nationals. They were lured to meetings outside Colombia and were arrested in the United States, Costa Rica, and Italy, Bonner said. "All are indicted in the United States, and we expect that all seven will be tried here." He said indictments returned by federal grand juries in Los Angeles and San Diego name 107 defendants and charge them with, among other things, illegally laundering drug money for the cartels. On September 25, Bonner said, the Colombian National Police raided the financial offices of the leader of the Cali cartel, Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela, "seizing financial books and records as well as computer hard drives and discs containing financial transactions and bank account information." "Through these collective multinational law enforcement efforts," he said, "we have delivered a serious blow to the Cali cartel. We have damaged the cartel's financial operations and disrupted their cash flow." General Miguel Antonio Gomez Padilla, director of the Colombian National Police, said Colombia "is the first victim of the narcotraffic. The violence generated by this tragedy has left many victims in my country....We are seeking international cooperation because Colombia alone could never eliminate this tragedy." He cited the actions of the police against the drug traffickers, such as the seizure of more than 63 metric tons of cocaine last year, similar quantities this year, the eradication campaign against opium poppy, the capture of several narcotraffickers, and the freezing of their bank accounts. "We believe the best tribute we can pay to the police who have been 1ssassinated in the line of duty is to continue fighting this plague until we see it eliminated for all humanity," he said. Deputy Attorney General George Terwilliger pointed out that drug trafficking is not a "victimless crime." Much of the money that finances the murders of the Colombian judges, police, and journalists, "comes out of the pocket of American drug users," he said. "I think our efforts to dismantle the financial operations that these organizations run on is as important, if not more important, than the drug seizures that we make," he said. NNNN .