Wednesday, June 30, 2010

You've been hearing a lot lately about how increasingly deadly and powerful Mexican gangs and drug cartels are becoming, and how they're impacting the U.S. border. Well, in the August issue of Bloomberg Markets magazine, it reveals how over a three-year period Wachovia was used by drug cartels to launder money. Several U.S. banks are implicated, but Charlotte-based Wachovia, which is now own by Wells Fargo, sits atop the heap. It's reported that Wachovia handled $378 billion (yes, billion) in illegal funds for Mexican-currency-exchange houses from 2004 to 2007. And that's said to be the largest violation of the Bank Secrecy Act, an anti-money-laundering law, in U.S. history.

Also playing a role is Charlotte-based Bank of America. This is depicted in a scene during an incident in 2006 when law enforcement search a jet at an airport in Mexico: They found 128 black suitcases, packed with 5.7 tons of cocaine, valued at $100 million. The stash was supposed to have been delivered from Caracas to drug traffickers in Toluca, near Mexico City, Mexican prosecutors later found. Law enforcement officials also discovered something else. The smugglers had bought the DC-9 with laundered funds they transferred through two of the biggest banks in the U.S.: Wachovia Corp. and Bank of America Corp.

The article says that Wachovia, which federal prosecutors charged, ignored signs that drug cartels were funneling money through its banks. It also goes on to state that since 2006, more than 22,000 people have been killed in drug-related battles that have occurred mostly along the 2,000-mile border that Mexico shares with the U.S.

Read more about the Bloomberg article by clicking here.


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