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Surprise! Panama Papers Expose Ties To Los Zeta Cartel ‘Queen Of The South’

Photo: REUTERS/David Mercado

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JP Carroll National Security & Foreign Affairs Reporter
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A Guatemalan woman in a U.S. prison who climbed the ranks of Mexican Los Zetas cartel had set up shop in Panama through a law firm that catered to famous, politically powerful and often shady clients.

Mallory Chacon Rossell — a Guatemalan citizen — was indicted in 2011 by the U.S. Treasury Department for drug trafficking. Chacon was a supplier of cocaine to Los Zetas. Her operations went from from the Andean region known for its cocaine, up into Mexico.

To hide her ill gotten gains, Chacon established a shell company in 2008 through the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, according to The Miami Herald. The firm specializes in setting up entities for their clientsthat lower their tax rate in the country of origin.

While frowned upon, often times the activities of Mossack Fonseca on behalf of their clients are legal. But in a case such as Chacon’s – under the U.S. Patriot Act – Mossack Fonseca was expected to do more due diligence.

Following up on their 2011 accusations, the U.S. Department of Treasury publicly stated in 2012 that Chacon was, “one of the most prolific narcotics traffickers in Central America.” This title was confirmed by the nickname Chacon got in the drug trade as the ‘Queen of the South,’ in reference to a Mexican telenovela where a woman drug lord played by El Chapo associate, Kate del Castillo.

Treasury’s accusations against the drug lord fell on deaf ears over tat Mossack Fonseca which continued to register Chacon’s ‘Broadway Commerce Inc.’ as a client through 2013. Chacon reached a plea deal in 2014 and went over to Florida. Tons of coke and tens of millions of dollars – laundered through Broadway Commerce Inc. – were moved around by the cartel queen who was sentenced in May 2015.

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