The Miami-Dade state attorney charged 22 cartel crooks Thursday who laundered money for Colombian and Mexican cartels including the Sinaloa Cartel led by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
Charges against the cartel crew consist of racketeering, money laundering, RICO conspiracy, and conspiracy to money launder. Local 10 ABC News reports “only five of the 22 suspects are in custody — one in Colombia, one in Boston and three in Miami-Dade County.” The case is being handled by Miami-Dade state officials and the Department of Homeland Security.
“Operation Neymar,” named after the famed Brazilian soccer star and an alias of the leading trafficker, tracked the movement of $1 million in North America. Cartel money men were trying to convert drug trafficking profits from U.S. dollars into Mexican and Colombian pesos.
Authorities seized $1 million during the arrests. The money laundered by the cartels was cleaned up through businesses mostly involved in electronics exports of the nearly dozen businesses implicated in the money laundering operation, none have been charged with wrongdoing.
The Department of the Treasury highlighted 700 Miami businesses for their weakness in detecting money laundering as well as their complicity with cartel crimes, according to The Miami Herald. Miami has long been a hub of international drug trafficking due to its large port and proximity to Latin America.
This case comes during increased scrutiny on Latin American financing due to the Panama Papers leak. Various prominent politicos including pals of Vladimir Putin and senior Chinese Communist Party officials have been caught up in the scandal.
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