Investigators net US$140 million from Los Angeles trade based money laundering

Investigators of a trade-based money laundering scheme in Los Angeles Fashion District benefitting two Mexican drug cartels have now seized a total of US$140 million.

Some US$90 million in cash has been seized, while another US$37.5 million has been found in bank accounts in the US and abroad.

Extensive investigations
Raids last year on 75 fashion and textile businesses in Los Angeles Fashion District followed months of investigations into people delivering cash to clothing and textile companies that used the money to buy garments that they then shipped to Mexico, where they were sold for pesos.

The laundered pesos were subsequently channelled to the Sinaloa and Knights Templar drug cartels, that were selling drugs in the US but finding it difficult repatriate drugs proceeds back to Mexico.

Geographic Targeting Order
As part of the investigations, the US Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network imposed a Geographic Targeting Order (GTO) on businesses in the Los Angeles Fashion District.

The GTO required specified businesses to report all cash transactions over US$3,000 as opposed to the usual US$10,000 reporting threshold.

Categories: Trade Based Financial crimes News

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