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Feds indict eleven people for $40M cartel money laundering scheme in Atlanta

June 24, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Feds indict eleven people for $40M cartel money laundering scheme in Atlanta

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On Wednesday, federal authorities in Georgia charged 11 people with money laundering over $40 million in drug profits to Mexican drug cartels after a three-year probe.
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The investigation, which was headed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security and the IRS, was launched in 2014 when authorities suspected that a group was using money-broker businesses to send profits from drug deals from the U.S. to Mexico.

According to an ICE press release, the organization split large amounts of money into smaller transactions and also incorporated the use of aliases and fake addresses in an attempt to evade authorities.

“The criminal network laundered millions of dollars in illegal proceeds back to Mexico and provided support to the drug organizations plaguing the region with narcotics and the violence associated with drug trafficking,” ICE HSI Atlanta Special Agent in Charge Nick Annan stated. “HSI will focus investigative efforts on dismantling and bringing to justice members of drug organizations and all those complicit in their activities.”

After investigating the money laundering scheme, Homeland Security agents in Atlanta learned that managers and employees of multiple area money remitters and wire transfer businesses were part of the plot: As payment for their participation, the businesses were given kickbacks.

“Using money remitters to launder illegal proceeds is one more way cartels fuel their enterprises,” U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia John Horn said. “The business model of many cartels requires a means to get their cash profits across the border and into the hands of supervisors and sellers. This investigation shows they have found an effective means through cash remitters. We hope these cases will help to close this pipeline.”

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