Colombian prosecutors have held a hearing with the partner of alleged drug trafficker Guillermo León Acevedo, aka ‘Memo Fantasma’, on possible money laundering charges, making her the third member of his family to face charges. charges from the Attorney General’s office.
The hearing with Catalina Mejía Acosta – who is Colombian but lives in Madrid, Spain – was held virtually on May 25, during which the attorney general’s office agreed to delay the filing of charges against Mejía due to a change of attorney. According to court documents, prosecutors are seeking to charge Mejia with aggravated money laundering and illicit enrichment.
Mejía’s defense attorney, David Espinosa Acuña, also asked prosecutors not to bring charges against his client in order to give the new prosecutor time to possibly question Mejía.
Espinosa admitted to the judge that the request was unusual, but he said it could “clear up many questions from the attorney general’s office with respect to my client.”
Julio César Ochoa Forero, a prosecutor in the attorney general’s office, demanded that the defense “undertake to present” Mejia to the Colombian consulate in Spain. Mejía had not previously appeared at the Madrid consulate when she was summoned for an audience.
Although the documents do not provide details of the attorney general’s office’s investigation of Mejía, Mejía is Acevedo’s partner and the mother of his two youngest children.
Acevedo was formally charged with money laundering and criminal association in March, and he is currently incarcerated in La Picota prison in Bogotá. Acevedo faces between 15 and 40 years in prison if convicted.
Acevedo maintained his innocence, saying he was not charged with drug lord Memo Fantasma, or “Will the Ghost.”
SEE ALSO: The Invisible Drug Lord: The “Ghost” Hunt
Acevedo evaded prosecution for decades before being identified as a businessman living in Spain. His life in the shadows was first revealed following the publication of a two-year investigation by InSight Crime in March 2020.
The InSight Crime investigation revealed Memo Fantasma’s links to drug trafficking groups in Colombia and his role in the Central Bolivar Bloc of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia – AUC), the name generic of what was once the Colombian paramilitary shadow. army.
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Catalina Mejía is the third member of the Acevedo family to be charged as part of his alleged money laundering schemes.
Also accused in this case are Acevedo’s mother, Margoth de Jesús Giraldo, and his grandmother, Maria Enriqueta Ramírez, both accused of laundering funds using a series of properties and businesses linked to Acevedo.
SEE ALSO: Memo Fantasma faces up to 40 years as the lawyer is also under investigation
In a 30-page charging document filed Oct. 20, prosecutors alleged that Acevedo and his family laundered more than 54 billion Colombian pesos (about $14.5 million) through dozens of properties and of companies.
In the charging document, prosecutors detailed the real estate used in the alleged money laundering scheme, including 26 plots in the department of Córdoba, in northern Colombia. Prosecutors allege the properties – worth around 43.3 billion Colombian pesos (about $11.5 million) – can be traced to convicted drug traffickers who then transferred them to companies owned by Acevedo and his family.
Catalina Mejía and Acevedo enjoyed a relationship and lived together in Spain, out of the spotlight, according to the InSight Crime investigation.
The investigation identified several properties belonging to Acevedo in Madrid, as well as two of its companies, which are registered with a law firm in the same city.
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