By Dialogo December 15, 2011 The U.S. Government filed charges before a judge in Virginia against Ayman Joumaa, alias “Junior,” a Lebanese businessman who facilitated the transport of tons of cocaine and laundered money for Mexican and Colombian cartels. Joumaa, 47 years old, remains at large, but he was formally designated a criminal kingpin in January, following an investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Treasury Department. “According to information from sources, his alleged drug and money laundering activities facilitated numerous global drug trafficking organizations, including the criminal activities of the Los Zetas Mexican drug cartel,” the DEA statement explained on December 13. These activities took place over at least eight years, during which Joumaa would receive cocaine from Colombian and Venezuelan suppliers, transfer it to Los Zetas, and then collect a commission of between 8 and 14 percent for laundering the profits. The alleged Lebanese kingpin, together with his siblings and other associates, operated businesses that served as a facade for laundering money, such as foreign-exchange agencies in Lebanon, a company in Panama, and a chain of department stores in Colombia, according to the charges against him. Joumaa could be sentenced in absentia to life in prison, according to the DEA.