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Ear to the Ground

DEA Launders Money for Mexican Drug Cartels

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Posted on Dec 4, 2011
AP / Marco Ugarte

Mexican security forces escort a suspected member of the Gulf cartel in 2009.

To what length should governments enable crime in order to catch criminals? That’s the ethical issue raised by a New York Times article that reports DEA agents have laundered millions of dollars in drug proceeds to battle Mexican cartels. More than 40,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence in Mexico since 2006.

The U.S. runs numerous undercover laundering operations with and against Mexican cartels, which means it shares culpability for violence and lost lives. “We tried to make sure there was always close supervision of these operations so that we were accomplishing our objectives, and agents weren’t laundering money for the sake of laundering money,” said a former senior agency official who now works for a private contracting firm involved in the stings. As the drug markets expand to Africa, Europe and the Middle East, both the amount of money trading hands and the body count are likely to swell. —ARK

The New York Times:

The agents, primarily with the Drug Enforcement Administration, have handled shipments of hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal cash across borders, those officials said, to identify how criminal organizations move their money, where they keep their assets and, most important, who their leaders are.

… The officials said that while the D.E.A. conducted such operations in other countries, it began doing so in Mexico only in the past few years. The high-risk activities raise delicate questions about the agency’s effectiveness in bringing down drug kingpins, underscore diplomatic concerns about Mexican sovereignty, and blur the line between surveillance and facilitating crime. As it launders drug money, the agency often allows cartels to continue their operations over months or even years before making seizures or arrests.

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By Arianna Marie, January 14, 2012 at 8:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

One of the sources in the Times’ article, works for a company called MEP(Mission Enforcement Personnel).  I looked up their web page.  Their just another spook agency that’s probably knee deep in this along with all the other alphabet agencies.

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By moonraven, December 6, 2011 at 12:44 pm Link to this comment

Patrick:  The Narco Favorite (rumor has it that ex president Foxy Loxy received millions to let him escape from the maximum security can here in Mexico in Jan. 2001) Joaquin El Chapo Guzman is on the Forbes list—listed as Mexican businessman.

Of course we also have the number 1 on the Forbes, Carlos Slim Helu—as well as 60% poverty.

Poor Mexico, so far from God, so close to the U.S.

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By moonraven, December 6, 2011 at 12:27 pm Link to this comment

Several points to consider:

1.  The article should have said more than 50,000 people have been killed since Calderon started his Justify My Fraudulent Entry to the Presidency War against Narcos except for El Chapo Guzman.  Another 10,000 plus are “disappeared”, and 300,000 displaced.  Calderon managed to do in 5 years what it has taken Colombia since 1948 to accomplish.

2.  This caper by the DEA is nothing new—nor is the Fast and Furious ATP caper of selling automatic weapons to narcos.  Same rationale as the CIA has always used—their budget is too small so they have to deal and wheel on the side.  Right.

3.  US banks have only avoided by bankruptcy (and some didn’t) by taking trillions from your tax money and by laundering narcodollars.  This is also not new, nor is it news.

4.  The US basically outsourced its War on Drugs just like other aspects of its economy, and continued its eternal policy of genocide against non-whites in order to rip off their resources.

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By chris massey lynch, December 6, 2011 at 6:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

check out Narco News   at http://www.narconews.com/  Whats going on in Mexico is very disturbing.  / Mike Ruppert is one expert on this subject of drug running…. also Rodney Stich….and the late Gary Webb (found shot in the head)the CIA wallet is full of blood….

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By blogdog, December 5, 2011 at 11:19 am Link to this comment

global banks have been central to drug-money laundering since the 19th C.
opium bonanza - more important: a robust global market in 1) drugs, 2) assault
weapons / munitions, 3) objects for carnal abuse, 4) human organs and said
market’s requisite revenue laundering embody the essence of the 3rd-World War
and attendant Global War OF Terror - joint mission: fail states, bring entire
populations to their knees, begging for protection and IMF/World Bank debt
servitude - no mistaking winners, losers, enablers, victims - overwhelming sense
of helplessness

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By noodles, December 5, 2011 at 10:14 am Link to this comment

Read Michael Ruppert’s “Crossing The Rubicon”.  The CIA has been peddling drugs
in the ghettos of Los Angeles for decades.  When the Taliban ran Afghanistan,
there were no poppy fields, and it wasn’t until the US invasion that the fields
began to reappear.  All that money is laundered somewhere.  @felicity - yep,
BANKS!

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By PatrickHenry, December 5, 2011 at 4:05 am Link to this comment

The narcos are currently in the 28% bracket, the democrats want to increase it the repubs want to lower it.

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By Blueokie, December 5, 2011 at 12:32 am Link to this comment

I am in complete agreement with Robespierre’s recommended reading, I would only add that for the long historical view to look into the works of Eduardo Galeano.  Bowden and Gibler offer an outstanding change of perspective from the “anchor baby”, “illegal” narrative of the MSM, or the propaganda of xenophobic
reactionaries.

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By Maani, December 4, 2011 at 6:43 pm Link to this comment

This is news?  The U.S. gov’t/military has been directly involved in the drug trade - as buyers, sellers, money launderers - since at least the 70s, and probably earlier.

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By Robespierre115, December 4, 2011 at 5:57 pm Link to this comment

This is nothing compared to the full picture. In the book “To Die In Mexico” by John Gibler and other excellent works of journalism by authors such as Charles Bowden, one key issues explored is how narco dollars might have helped prevent a much wider economic collapse in 2008 because it was the moust bountiful, readily available cash resource available for banks.

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By felicity, December 4, 2011 at 2:10 pm Link to this comment

Wow, what a windfall for BANKS. I’m SHOCKED, SHOCKED
that banks, those upstanding fine institutions, would
even accept such ‘dirty’ money.

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