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唐朱昌
唐朱昌
教授,博士生导师。复旦大学中国反洗钱研究中心首任主任,复旦大学俄...
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严立新
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陈浩然
陈浩然
复旦大学法学院教授、博士生导师;复旦大学国际刑法研究中心主任。...
何 萍
何 萍
华东政法大学刑法学教授,复旦大学中国反洗钱研究中心特聘研究员,荷...
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李小杰
安永金融服务风险管理、咨询总监,曾任蚂蚁金服反洗钱总监,复旦大学...
周锦贤
周锦贤
周锦贤先生,香港人,广州暨南大学法律学士,复旦大学中国反洗钱研究中...
童文俊
童文俊
高级经济师,复旦大学金融学博士,复旦大学经济学博士后。现供职于中...
汤 俊
汤 俊
武汉中南财经政法大学信息安全学院教授。长期专注于反洗钱/反恐...
李 刚
李 刚
生辰:1977.7.26 籍贯:辽宁抚顺 民族:汉 党派:九三学社 职称:教授 研究...
祝亚雄
祝亚雄
祝亚雄,1974年生,浙江衢州人。浙江师范大学经济与管理学院副教授,博...
顾卿华
顾卿华
复旦大学中国反洗钱研究中心特聘研究员;现任安永管理咨询服务合伙...
张平
张平
工作履历:曾在国家审计署从事审计工作,是国家第一批政府审计师;曾在...
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上传时间: 2024-06-20      浏览次数:201次
$50M cartel drug money scheme exposes ties to Chinese underground

 

https://www.newsnationnow.com/us-news/immigration/border-coverage/cartels/cartel-drug-money-scheme-chinese-underground/

 

Associates of the Sinaloa drug cartel based in Los Angeles conspired with a Chinese underground banking network to move more than $50 million in drug proceeds from the distribution of cocaine and methamphetamine, federal drug officials announced this week.

 

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration announced federal charges against 24 people following a multiyear investigation called “Operation Fortune Runner.” The indictment, which was handed down in April, was unsealed Monday.

 

Federal officials allege a Sinaloa cartel-connected money laundering network with ties to a California money transmitting group that is linked to Chinese underground banking collected drug trafficking funds and had the cash processed as U.S. currency.

 

Those working within the operation allegedly concealed the drug proceeds and made them available to cartel members in Mexico and elsewhere, prosecutors allege.

 

The 24 defendants were charged with one count of conspiracy to aid and abet the distribution of cocaine and methamphetamine, conspiracy to launder money and one count of conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money-transmitting business.

 

DOJ dismantles cartel drug network; 47 charged, 36 arrested

 

Dangerous drugs like fentanyl and methamphetamine are destroying people’s lives but drug traffickers only care about their profits,” U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada said in a statement. “To protect our community, therefore, it is essential that we go after the sophisticated, international criminal syndicates that launder the drug money.”

 

The Cartel’s Chinese connection

 

NewsNation contributor Robert Almonte, a former U.S. marshal and ex-deputy chief with the El Paso Police Department, said the cartels have had established working relationships with the Chinese for years.

 

He said the global reach of the Sinaloa cartel has only made the organization more dangerous and profitable in moving traditional narcotics as well as synthetic drugs like fentanyl across the world.

 

They’re in Mexico, the United States, Canada, Europe — you name it. They’re huge,” Almonte said.

 

The lead defendant in the DEA’s case, Edgar Joel Martinez-Reyes, 45, of East Los Angeles, and others allegedly used various methods to hide the money’s source, including trade-based money laundering, “structuring” assets to avoid federal financial reporting requirements and the purchase of cryptocurrency, DEA officials said.

 

The federal probe found that Martinez-Reyes allegedly traveled to Mexico to meet with Sinaloa Cartel members to strike a deal with money remitters with links to Chinse underground banking to launder drug trafficking proceeds in the United States.

 

After a deal was reached, the Sinaloa cartel distributed cocaine, methamphetamine and other narcotics, generating U.S. dollars as drug proceeds.

 

Additionally, the investigation found Martinez-Reyes and others allegedly delivered the currency —frequently hundreds of thousands of U.S. dollars at a time — to other members of the Chinese underground money exchange and remitting organizations to be laundered for a fee.

 

The remitting organizations possessed large amounts of U.S. currency and could help wealthy Chinese nationals evade China’s currency controls, the DEA said.

 

Federal officials who were part of the organization called the operation “a prime example” of Chinese money launderers working together with drug traffickers to attempt to legitimize profits generated by drug proceeds.

 

Relentless greed, the pursuit of money, is what drives the Mexican drug cartels that are responsible for the worst drug crisis in American history,” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said in a statement released by the agency. “Laundering drug money gives the Sinaloa Cartel the means to produce and import their deadly poison into the United States.”

 

The deceptiveness of Cartel business

 

Almonte told NewsNation that each member of the money laundering group has a very specific role in ensuring the cartels’ goals are achieved.

 

From the trafficking of the drugs to moving drug proceeds and transferring them into U.S. currency, each link of the chain is critical in the funds ultimately being reinvested back into cartel business, according to Almonte.

 

Once trafficking money is laundered, funds are used to purchase more chemicals to produce fentanyl and methamphetamine. Then, people working for the cartels are paid to produce the drugs, which are then distributed to various cartel channels around Mexico for distribution around the country and the United States.

 

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Deception is a key component of the multistep process, as members rely on codes to keep drug trafficking and money laundering moving. It makes law enforcement’s job even more difficult to disrupt the flow of cartel drugs and cash.

 

It’s all deception when it comes to money laundering,” Almonte told NewsNation. “They’re making it look like a legitimate activity when the fact is, it’s not.”

 

During “Operation Fortune Runner,” the DEA seized more than $5 million in drug proceeds, 302 pounds of cocaine, 92 pounds of methamphetamine, 3,000 ecstasy pills, 44 pounds of magic mushrooms, several ounces of ketamine, three semi-automatic weapons with high-capacity magazines and eight semi-automatic handguns, the agency said.

 

All of those charged by the DEA are expected to appear in court in Los Angeles in the coming weeks.