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Theresa Van Vliet, architect of successful federal prosecutions against the Cali drug cartel, has joined the Miami office of Kilpatrick Stockton as a key player in the firm’s new white-collar criminal defense unit. But Van Vliet, most recently senior litigation counsel for the U.S. Department of Justice in Fort Lauderdale, said she won’t represent drug traffickers. “I still have strong feelings about drug trafficking,” she said. In 1991, Van Vliet headed a 200-person Justice Department task force battling the Cali cartel. The resulting prosecutions helped cripple the international drug ring, which operates out of Cali, Colombia. In May 1994, Van Vliet headed to Washington as the Department of Justice’s Chief of Narcotics. There, she fine-tuned policy under the Emergency Economic Powers Act, slapping drug traffickers with economic sanctions, while curbing money laundering. Van Vliet returned to South Florida in October 1998 to work in Fort Lauderdale as senior litigation counsel for the DOJ. In that role, she helped charge 43 Colombians with money laundering. The case is pending. In her new job, she is helping corporate clients comply with money laundering laws and avoid economic sanctions. She’ll likely also represent clients in civil racketeering prosecutions. Kilpatrick Stockton is a 500-lawyer international firm headquartered in Atlanta, with offices in Washington, North Carolina, Virginia, London and Stockholm. Van Vliet has been reunited with former federal prosecutors Wilmer “Buddy” Parker and David Barger in the white-collar crime unit. Kilpatrick Stockton’s Miami office has 14 lawyers and plans to expand, Van Vliet said.

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