DEA Agents Laundered Money, Shipped Drugs for Mexican Cartels
January 11, 2012
John Glaser / Anti-War.com & Adriana Gomez Licon / Associated Press
Drug Enforcement Administration agents laundered millions in cash for a top Mexican drug dealer and his Colombian cocaine supplier, according to documents recently made public. The DEA agents and their Colombian informant conducted at least 15 wire transfers to banks in the US, Canada and China and smuggled about $2.5 million into the US. DEA agents also arranged to fly at least one shipment of cocaine from Ecuador to Madrid through a Dallas airport on behalf of the cartels.
US Agents Laundered Money, Shipped Drugs for Cartels
John Glaser / Anti-War.com
(January 9, 2012) -- US Drug Enforcement Administration agents laundered millions in cash for a powerful Mexican drug trafficker and his Colombian cocaine supplier, according to documents made public Monday.
With the help of Mexican federal police officers, the DEA agents and their Colombian informant conducted at least 15 wire transfers to banks in the United States, Canada and China and smuggled about $2.5 million in the United States.
The efforts aimed to infiltrate the Mexican Beltran Leyva drug cartel and a cell of money launderers for Colombia's Valle del Norte cartel in Mexico and included flying at least one shipment of cocaine from Ecuador to Madrid through a Dallas airport on behalf of the cartels.
Money laundering is a favored tactic of the DEA. The illicit activity -- specifically sanctioned as Attorney General Exempt Operations -- often violates Mexican sovereignty, facilitates additional criminal activity on the part of the drug cartels, and may be counterproductive, especially in the shadow of the failed gun-running operation Fast and Furious.
Mexican military and law enforcement, trained and armed by the US, typically assist the Americans. But Mexico's over-reliance on harsh law enforcement and militaristic approaches to the drug war -- actively promoted by the United States -- has resulted in a dramatic increase in violence and an unaccountable police and military force that is responsible for widespread human rights violations.
Human Rights Watch recently released a report providing evidence that US-supported Mexico's security forces participated in "more than 170 cases of torture, 39 'disappearances,' and 24 extrajudicial killings since Calderón took office in December 2006."
"Instead of reducing violence, Mexico's 'war on drugs' has resulted in a dramatic increase in killings, torture, and other appalling abuses by security forces, which only make the climate of lawlessness and fear worse in many parts of the country," said José Miguel Vivanco of Human Rights Watch. What's more, claimed the report, is that most of these crimes are committed with impunity.
President Calderon's policy to deploy 50,000 Mexican troops and thousands more federal police officers -- forces that are trained by the United States -- appears only to have increased the violence, which has left about 50,000 dead in recent years,including 12,000 dead in 2011.
US: Mexico Kingpin Guzman 'World's Most Powerful'
Adriana Gomez Licon / Associated Press
MEXICO CITY (January 10, 2012) - The US Treasury Department called Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman "the world's most powerful drug trafficker" Tuesday. The fugitive Sinaloa cartel leader also got a boost from Mexican actress Kate Del Castillo, who said she believed in Guzman more than in the government.
It was the latest in an odd series of encomiums for Guzman, who was included this year on the Forbes list of the world's richest people, with an estimated fortune of $1 billion.
The US Embassy in Mexico City issued a statement saying three of Guzman's alleged associates had been hit with sanctions under the drug Kingpin Act, which prohibits people in the US from conducting businesses with them and freezes their US assets. The two Mexican men and a Colombian allegedly aided Guzman's trafficking operations.
The statement quoted Adam J. Szubin, director of the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, as saying the move "marks the fourth time in the past year that OFAC has targeted and exposed the support structures of the organization led by Chapo Guzman, the world's most powerful drug trafficker."
Guzman, who escaped from a Mexican prison in 2001 in a laundry truck and has a $7 million bounty on his head, has long been recognized as Mexico's most powerful drug capo. Authorities say his Sinaloa cartel has recently been expanding abroad, building international operations in Central and South America and the Pacific.
Del Castillo, who played a female drug trafficker in the TV series "La Reina del Sur" ("Queen of the South"), offered grudging praise for Guzman in a posting Tuesday on the social media site Twextra, linked to her Twitter account.
"Today, I believe more in El Chapo Guzman than in the governments who hide truths from me," she wrote.
The actress did not specify whether she was referring to the Mexican government, or what she meant when she accused "governments" of "hiding the cures for cancer, AIDS, etc. for their own benefit and enrichment."
Del Castillo's publicist, Marianne Sauvage, confirmed in an email to The Associated Press that the actress wrote the posting, and that the account belonged to Del Castillo.
The 800-word posting ended with an impassioned plea to Guzman:
"Mr. Chapo, wouldn't it be great if you started trafficking with positive things? With cures for diseases, with food for street children, with alcohol for old people's homes so they spend their final days doing whatever they like, trafficking with corrupt politicians and not with women and children who wind up as slaves?"
"Go ahead, dare to, sir, you would be the hero of heroes, let's traffick with love, you know how," the message concluded.
Also Tuesday, Mexican authorities said they had seized 32.6 metric tons of a precursor chemical used to make methamphetamines at the Pacific coast port of Manzanillo.
Mexico's navy said the chemical methylamine came in a shipment from China, but did not say whether Manzanillo was the final destination of the shipment. Mexico seized almost 675 metric tons of the chemical at sea ports in December alone, all of which was destined for Guatemala.
Experts say that when another chemical is added, methylamine can yield its weight in uncut meth
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