How Drug Cartels Are Laundering U.S. Dollars

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It was a bad day for the drug cartels worldwide…

MIAMI – Local 10 News reports that 22 people have been charged in an international money laundering case that funneled cash to drug trafficking cartels through Miami-based businesses.   Authorities said the undercover “Operation Neymar” involved about $1 million a month in drug money from throughout North America.

The drug trafficking organizations in question were operating throughout the United States, but they used Miami’s strong international economy as the actual funnel for all of their money laundering operations.

Only five of the 22 suspects are in custody — one in Colombia, one in Boston and three in Miami-Dade County.  The others are identified and authorities are searching for them.  Miami prosecutors worked with Homeland Security agents to bust the gangs through wiretaps and informants in an investigation dubbed “Operation Neymar,” because many of the drug smugglers used soccer star aliases.

The Herald reports the scheme worked like this: Mexican cartels bought Colombian product on credit, sold it across the Americas, and then paid the Colombians back in U.S. dollars. To convert that cash to pesos, they’d sell those dollars to businesses who got a better exchange rate than they would on the legit peso market.

Among the 22 arrested was Juan Manuel Alvarez Inzunza, a chief launderer for El Chapo, the infamous drug lord captured in January after his latest dramatic jail escape.

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