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How the Sinaloa Cartel Used Chinese Currency Exchanges in the US to Launder  Million in Drug Trafficking

How the Sinaloa Cartel Used Chinese Currency Exchanges in the US to Launder $50 Million in Drug Trafficking

How the Sinaloa Cartel Used Chinese Currency Exchanges in the US to Launder  Million in Drug Trafficking

The Department of Justice U.S announced charges on Tuesday against alleged associates of Sinaloa Cartel for a money laundering scheme that used Chinese currency exchanges in Los Angeles, California, to launder more than $50 million from drug sales. The investigation, called Operation Fortune Runner, lasted five years and included the collaboration of authorities in China and Mexico.

Federal authorities have charged 24 people in connection with the case, of whom 22 were arrested, the Justice Department said in a statement. security forces of China It is Mexico They helped capture fugitives who fled from U.S after being indicted for the first time last year, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

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“This research shows that Sinaloa Cartel entered into a new criminal association with Chinese citizens who launder money for cartels,” he said. Anne Milgramdirector of the DEA, in a press conference.

The main accused is Edgar Joel Martínez-Reyes45 years old and resident of the east zone The angels.

Members of the money laundering scheme. (DEA).

According to prosecutors, he directed couriers who collected the money in the metropolitan region of The angels. Furthermore, along with other members of the organization a variety of methods to hide the origin of money, including trade-based washingthe “structuring” of assets to avoid federal financial reporting requirements and the purchase of cryptocurrenciesdetailed the accusation.

The charges against the defendants include conspiracy to assist in the distribution of cocaine and methamphetamine, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transfer business. Defendants could face a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and at most life imprisonment.

U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada watches DEA chief Anne Milgram during a press conference on Tuesday, June 18, 2024, in Los Angeles.  (AP Photo/Jamie Ding).

Federal prosecutor Martin Estrada looks on as DEA chief Anne Milgram speaks during a news conference on Tuesday, June 18, 2024, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jamie Ding).

According to indictmentfrom October 2019 to October 2023, members and operators of Sinaloa Cartel imported large quantities of narcoticsIncluding fentanyl, cocaine It is methamphetamineto the United States, generating huge sums of money in US dollars.

In January 2021, Martinez-Reyes allegedly traveled to Mexico meet with members of the Sinaloa Cartel reach an agreement with money senders who had ties to Chinese underground banks to launder drug trafficking profits into U.S.

After the deal was closed, the Sinaloa Cartel — through his contacts and associates — distributed cocaine, methamphetamine and other narcotics, generating enormous profits.

Martinez-Reyes and other conspirators allegedly delivered currency (often in amounts of hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash) to other members of the chinese clandestine bank and organizations of shipments for them to wash. Chinese forex brokers charged a much lower commission percentage than conventional money launderers.

Many of those involved in this network They made deposits in banks in the United States, purchased goods in China and sent them to Mexico to be resold there, and created a system of “mules” that moved money in banks, exploiting the United States financial system.

Additionally, consignors also moved illicit drug proceeds through online transactions. cryptocurrencies. They used a variety of traditional methods to get funds into the traditional banking system, such as purchasing cashier’s checks or depositing small amounts into bank accounts opened for that purpose, to avoid having the banks report to the U.S. government. of money are involved.

According to the Public Ministry, the plan depended on the enormous demand for US currency among rich Chinese citizensWho are prohibited from transferring more than US$50,000 out of China each year due to his government’s capital flight restrictions.

According to authorities, a person in China He transferred money to the seller’s Chinese bank account and received the equivalent in US dollars to use to purchase real estate, luxury items and pay monthly fees.

Drugs seized from the Sinaloa Cartel.

Drugs seized from the Sinaloa Cartel.

During the investigation, authorities indicated that Security forces also seized around $5 million worth of drugs.including just over 136 kg (300 lb) of cocaine41 kilograms (92 pounds) of methamphetaminein addition to other narcotics and eight semi-automatic pistols.

“Dangerous drugs like fentanyl and the methamphetamine “They are destroying people’s lives, but drug traffickers only care about their profits,” said the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California. Martin Estrada. “Therefore, to protect our community, it is essential that we pursue the sophisticated international criminal syndicates that launder government money. medicine. “As this indictment and our international actions demonstrate, we will be tenacious in our pursuit of all those who facilitate destruction in our country and ensure they are held accountable for their actions,” he added.

“Relentless greed, the pursuit of money, is what drives men. Mexican drug cartelsResponsible for the worst drug crisis in US history“, he stated Anne Milgram.

“This investigation of the DEA discovered an association between members of the Sinaloa Cartel it is a Chinese criminal syndicate which operates in Los Angeles and China to launder drug money. Money laundering from drug trafficking gives the Sinaloa Cartel the means to produce and import its deadly poison into U.S. The main operational priority of DEA is to save American lives by defeating the cartels and those who support their operations. “This investigation is the latest example and there is more to come,” he continued. Milgram.

He Sinaloa Cartel is largely responsible for the massive entry of fentanyl in the United States for about eight years, as well as the violence and deaths that accompany it and that have impacted communities on both sides of the border.

Source: Elcomercio

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