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Zevallos v. Obama

United States District Court, D. Columbia

January 17, 2014

FERNANDO ZEVALLOS, Plaintiff,
v.
BARACK H. OBAMA, In his official capacity as President of the United States, JACOB J. LEW, In his official capacity as Secretary of the Treasury, and UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY OFFICE OF FOREIGN ASSETS CONTROL, Defendants

Page 112

Re Document Nos.: 8, 11, 12.

For FERNANDO ZEVALLOS, Plaintiff: Erich C. Ferrari, FERRARI & ASSOCIATES, P.C., Washington, DC.

For BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA, II, in his official capacity as President of the United States, JACOB J. LEW, in his official capacity as Secretary of the Department of the Treasury, OFFICE OF FOREIGN ASSETS CONTROL, Defendants: Caroline Lewis Wolverton, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Civil Division, Washington, DC.

Page 113

MEMORANDUM OPINION

RUDOLPH CONTRERAS, United States District Judge.

Granting Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, or in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment

I. INTRODUCTION

In 2004, President George W. Bush designated Fernando Zevallos as a " Significant

Page 114

Foreign Narcotics Trafficker" under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act. Mr. Zevallos brings this action, challenging the government's 2013 decision not to delist him as such, under the Due Process Clause, the Takings Clause, and the Administrative Procedure Act. For the reasons that follow, the Court will grant the defendants' motion to dismiss, or in the alternative, for summary judgment.

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

A. Statutory Background

In 1999, Congress enacted the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (" Kingpin Act" ). See Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, Pub. L. 106-120 (codified at 21 U.S.C. § § 1901-08 (1999)). The purpose of the Act is " to provide authority for the identification of, and application of sanctions on a worldwide basis to, significant foreign narcotics traffickers, their organizations, and the foreign persons who provide support to those significant foreign narcotics traffickers and their organizations, whose activities threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States." 21 U.S.C. § 1902.

The Kingpin Act authorizes the President to " identify[] publicly the foreign persons that the President determines are appropriate for sanctions . . . and detail[] publicly the President's intent to impose sanctions upon these significant foreign narcotics traffickers pursuant to this chapter." 21 U.S.C. § 1903(b)(1)-(2). A significant foreign narcotics trafficker (" SFNT" ) is defined as " any foreign person that plays a significant role in international narcotics trafficking, that the President has determined to be appropriate for sanctions pursuant to this chapter . . . ." Id. § 1907(7). Once a person has been designated an SFNT, " there are blocked . . . all such property and interests in property within the United States, or within the possession or control of any United States person, which are owned or controlled by" the SFNT. Id. § 1904(b).

A person designated an SFNT may " seek administrative reconsideration of his, her or its designation . . . or assert that the circumstances resulting in the designation no longer apply, and thus seek to have the designation rescinded . . . ." 31 C.F.R. § 501.807. Administrative reconsideration is handled by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (" OFAC" ), which is an agency within the Department of the Treasury. Id. § 501.807(b). That same regulation also provides that " [a] blocked person seeking unblocking . . . may request a meeting with the Office of Foreign Assets Control; however, such meetings are not required, and the office may, at its discretion, decline to conduct such meetings prior to completing a review pursuant to this section." Id. ยง 501.807(c). Additionally, the regulation states that " [a]fter the ...


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