SDN Moves: OFAC strikes back, Trouble in the Congo, More Kony Womp Womp

A nice turn of pace for SDN activities. Sorry for the delay again.   Counter Narcotics Today OFAC designated a money-laundering cell operating between Peru and Spain (see, it was on purpose I delayed posting until today!…right). Of course, no designation can go without an Analyst Notebook chart for your viewing pleasure. Press release details are moderate, but given the SDNT context it is clear it is for transmission of proceeds from Colombia to Spain. Given the designated’s client list, he appears to be closely associated with the FARC and this goes straight to the point of FARC penetration of Europe via West Africa. I did a study a few years back on this and it seems to be the onward trend. That’s mainly notable because during my briefing I made someone cry… Manuel Aguirre Galindo, an SDN under the SDNTK program and a senior leader for the faltering AFO cartel was confirmed arrested Saturday. Good ole Manny was a senior level AFO member who allegedly oversaw a large financial aspect of their operations. Thus his arrest is a good notch on the belt for any OFAC and AML program. And is it just me, or has AFO been taking the biggest beating lately of all the cartels? Alternately, Stratfor tackles the question of whether the Zetas are really on their way out. They seems to think the Zetas will be around a little longer. I’m not going to object in the short term, but I don’t believe the Zetas will see long term existence. I did an article on why I think this earlier this year.   Counter-Terrorism This week seems to be a trade off between narco and terror. When one heats up, the other pipes down. However we did drone two senior members of al-Shabaab (not designated). ‘Murrica. The UN designated Muhammed Jamal al-Kashef, but he had previously been designated under OFAC and thus should already be in the filter.   Country Programs War crimes poster-boy and Facebook one-hit wonder Joseph Kony watch out, some 18 Bravos have bullets with your name on it. Kony is designated under SDGT. For those interested, State released a Q&A background on the P5+1 negotiations for Iran. I personally haven’t read it and probably won’t for a few days…or ever. But feel free to comment and pique my interest. DRC designated group M23 is starting more trouble in the Congo. Negotiations broke down and now they are getting smacked around by the military of the DRC. Reports are positive but I’m sure the group, or another equally bad one, will retreat into Rwanda and find itself fighting again a year from now. It’s unfortunate as that the talks broke down due to disagreements on amnesty. For these conflicts, Disarmament, Demobilization and Repatriation (DDR) ops are some of the most difficult issues. Having the rebels voluntarily disarm is the best way to guarantee future stability, yet the more brutal a group is the harder it is to forgive. Separating the bad apples from those that can be successfully repatriated is difficult, but when the bad apples are doing the talking its almost impossible to both seek peace and justice simultaneously....

read more

SDN Moves: SDGT nabbed in Libya, Al Shabaab firefights, Zetas operating in West Africa

Sorry that I didn’t make the Friday deadline for SDN Moves. We were all very busy on this end and figured we could squeeze it in during the holiday.   Terrorism In sequential raids, U.S. operators nabbed Abu Anas-al Libi, an SDGT designated as a core al-Qaeda member who was responsible for the embassy bombings in 1998. Naturally, the Libyan government protested a bit about their sovereignty but eventually piped down. It’s probably better for them to sweep this under the rug rather than broadcast that they are having troubles maintain positive control over their own territory. Given the current situation in Libya, the fact that high level SDGTs are able to move about freely is disconcerting but will most likely be a trend as Libya rebuilds its policing capabilities. This also brings to light another issue I worried about before Ghadaffi’s ouster. Usually when a country like this experiences a revolution, its important to retain intelligence assets that acted professionally to stand up a new organization, but equally important to get rid of the brutal thugs (i.e. Eastern Europe intelligence reform). The problem with Libya is everyone was basically a thug so they are most likely starting their agencies from scratch. Speaking of lawlessness, SEALs also conducted a raid against al-Shabaab at the same time (while it was against al-Shabaab, the target does not appear to be an SDN but is certainly a name you want in your filter). They encountered resistance and human shields and decided that bounding back was the best course of action. A degree of restraint that many of our enemies don’t have… Likewise, 11 men affiliated with al-Shabaab were arrested in Tanzania on Thursday. Continuing with the lawlessness theme, Human Rights Watch issued a report on the atrocities of SDGTs and FTOs operating in Syria. The report details atrocities of al-Nusra and ISIS, the new offshoot of AQI. While GL 16 places the burden of due diligence on the originator of any funds to the opposition forces, its reports such as this one that drive home why I suggest that financial institutions should conduct extensive due diligence on the transaction in any event. This would include profiles of the intended end user, end user checks and if related to trade at the minimum a look at the invoice, bill of lading and voyage route.   Narcotics The Zeta’s have been reportedly using West Africa as a transit hub for drugs to Europe. This really shouldn’t catch anyone by surprise. The FARC started this last year. Apparently New Jalisco and the Knights Templar are at war now. We’ll see how long this will last. Neither of these groups are prime targets for OFAC, but they should still be monitored. Also not surprising is 13 members of CDG being arrested in Texas. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why you screen domestic wires as well.   And that’s all folks. Have a great rest of the holiday...

read more

SDN Moves: Designations, Delistings and Deals Oh My!!!

Yes, it’s Friday and time for your weekly SDN moves. And it’s been quite a busy week.   Non-Proliferation In a very interesting turn of events this morning, it was reported that the Turkish government has selected an SDN from whom to procure surface to air missiles. Instead of acquiring U.S. made Patriot or Russian S-300 SAMS, they decided to bizarrely acquire HQ-9 systems from China Naitonal Precision Machinery Import/Export Corporation (CPMEIC). What is extremely interesting about this is that CPMEIC has been designated under [IFSR] and [NPWMD]. According to 31 CFR 561.201(a)(5)(ii), anyone who facilitates a transaction for CPMEIC could be subject to CISADA. As that a bank, even possibly the central bank of Turkey could be facilitating this significant transaction, this could result in a 561 designation that would prohibit opening of a correspondent bank in the U.S. If anything, it would be wise to monitor this deal closely and ensure your institution doesn’t inadvertently engage in this transaction.   Narcotics OFAC has targeted two relatively new targets, both the Cachiros in Honduras as well as Los Gueros in Mexico. Erich Ferrari already did a piece on the Gueros organization, whom frankly not much information exists. I honestly don’t know much about them other than their 2009 indictment. The Cachiros are an interesting case. They are Honduras’ largest organized crime and a transiter of cocaine from Colombia to Mexico. The Cachiros are well connected to Guatemalan gangs (which makes sense given their transportation routes). This is significant in as much as the Sinaloa and particularly the Zetas have extremely strong ties to Guatemala. Many of the Zetas original members were part of the Guatemalan Kabiles, a light infantry/special forces unit similar to the one that the Zetas defected from, and along with distribution of cocaine the Zetas have been known to run training camps and obtain heavy weaponry in Guatemala. I view the designation of the Cochires as a smart attempt to cut as deep in the supply chain of two of the worlds most terrible organizations. Los Cochires have been known to wield powerful influence, enough to be in a position to pressure the President to appoint one of their own as a minister. Apparently he refused so they offed a senator in revenge. This level of governmental penetration suggests high levels of dual sovereignty for the organization in Honduras and it wouldn’t be surprising if some of these designations have ownership or interests in a large area of commerce. Point and case. it has been alleged that the Cachiros not only have strong ties to the Honduran government but also own the Real Socieded Municipal soccer club and the clubs prime sponsor, Joya Grande, a Zoo in Honduras. (hint: add these to your filter…you’re welcome). Speaking of Central America, SDNTK Waldemar Lorenzana Lima was captured on the 20th.   Terrorism Unfortunately, we’ve seen the tragedy that an FTO can strike after al-Shabaab fighters struck a mall in Kenya, killing dozens. People are still reported missing and the attacks are alleged to have involved several Americans and a UK national. Analysts are stating that this attack both marks a shift in al-Shabaab strategy towards a much more dispersed terrorist group rather than the insurgent force that once controlled much of Somalia.  The organization has undergone leadership changes and solidification of power, as we saw with last week’s SDN-on-SDN killing. OFAC also delisted several SDGTs, mainly because they gave up their ways through kinetic thought disruption. It’s important to remember that the simple act of dying does not remove you from the SDN list as that there...

read more

SDN Moves: Jamaah Islamiya still exists, SDN on SDN violence, Templars decapitated…again

Today, OFAC designated two SDGTs for their support of terrorist organizations in Indonesia, primarily Aceh rebels and Jamaah Islamiya. The latter organization was responsible for the Bali bombing and is an AQ affiliate. It’s been a long time since I’ve even thought of those organizations, but I’m glad they are still on OFAC’s radar. Counter-Narcotics News On the Mexico front, forces recently captured Oscar Cornejo Tello, a regional (well, now past) leader of The Knights Templar cartel, an offshoot of La Familia and one of the stranger organizations down there. Apparently he used to be a police administrator…ugh. He was not designated but certainly not someone whose property you want to deal with. Counter-Terrorism News And in other news, two cases of SDN-on-SDN violence. Because the enemy of my enemy…is designated!!! 1. SOMALIA designation Omar Hammami was killed by Al Shabaab. Hammami was an AQ affiliate so I wouldn’t suggest shedding any tears. I also don’t think the FBI will be doling out the 5 million reward to Al Shabaab anytime soon, but I hear we would be more than happy to place it in a blocked account at a bank of their choosing… 2. Who needs a bunch of 18 bravos to take out Syria’s air defense when we can just outsource it to AQI…awkward. 3. Al Nusrah continues to gain ground, and this time in partnership with Ahrar al Sham Islamic Movement. The latter isn’t designated but is good filter material. Also looking at the armament they are using is a bit terrifying. Until Syria, I don’t think an AQ affiliate has had this type of firepower since we Hulk Smashed Afghanistan in 2001....

read more

SDN Moves: Iran Designations, Trevino found guilty, SDGTs KIA and why not to have a cartel member in the family

Because the fun don’t stop until the big man says so… Yesterday OFAC released a handful of designations under the Iran tag, but no press release forthcoming.   This is also the first time that an [IRAN] designation has had an annotation stating its subject to secondary sanctions. While OFAC doesn’t explicitly come out and explain the tag, its no doubt in reference to the IFCA provisions, particularly section 2(i). Happily, OFAC has modified their own proprietary filter to reflect these changes on the small sample I checked (okay, n=2…it’s Friday and I’m apparently a lazy blogger) and warn users of the threat of secondary sanctions. The only entities exempt from these secondary sanctions are those that were designated “solely pursuant to Executive Order 13599,” i.e. those banks that are blocked for the sole nature of being owned or controlled by CBI (reflected appropriately in their own filter). On another note, Erich at Sanction Law noted that OGT has been all quiet on the east-middle-eastern-ish front (okay, give me a break, I’m trying to mix Remarque and Iran and its just not working) for almost exactly two months since some IFCA designations and three months since regular Iran designations. Mr. Ferrari thinks the dearth could be political, so does this designation package signal a swing back to the stick-over-carrot approach? Or is summer vacation just finally finished and foreign policy continues as usual? On the Mexico front, things are going swimmingly…so long is you aren’t a bro of a kingpin. A literal bro that is. Miguel Trevino’s brother was sentenced to 20 years for money laundering as Z-40 waits for his own trial to begin. Alberto Carillo Fuentes, brother of Vincente Carillo Fuentes was also arrested in Mexico. Neither individuals are designated but both were engaged in cartel operations. Borderland Beat does report that Alberto had taken control of the New Juarez Cartel1 after Vincente retired, but that’s unconfirmed at best. As much as it pains me to cite a Huffington Post article (what’s next, USAToday?), even U.S. officials aren’t exactly sure of Alberto’s role. Most likely the reason why he isn’t designated yet. Moving back to the MENA region, SDGT Sangeen Zadran is suspected of taking a dirt nap. The report in unconfirmed and sometimes these guys have a habit of rising from the dead. Just because the ISI says it’s so doesn’t make it accurate. Particularly because this guy is part of the Haqqani network.   1Super interesting article by the...

read more