Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel leveraging Colombian TBML scheme

Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel is continuing to work with a Colombian criminal network that uses trade-based money laundering (TBML) to move criminal proceeds into the legitimate financial system.

This is despite the US authorities bringing to trial this month the former leader of the Mexican cartel, Joaquín Guzmán Loera, better known as “El Chapo”.

Extradition and trial

Since 1993, El Chapo has been jailed in Guatemala and Mexico but subsequently escaped several times from jail.

In January 2017 he was extradited to the US and detained in a New York prison. His trial by jury began on 5 November 2018.

Colombian trade connection

El Chapo’s arrest and detention appear not to have impacted massively on Sinaloa’s Mexican operations and signs are that the cartel continues to maintain a presence outside of the country.

In February 2018, the Colombian authorities issued an alert about the influence of Sinaloa in financing the illegal activities of ex-FARC organised crime groups – networks of former fighters from the now largely demobilised Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, FARC).

The group also reportedly continues to use Colombian trading companies and a TBML network to launder their criminal proceeds in El Chapo’s absence.


Categories: Trade Based Financial crimes News

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