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Wachovia and the Mexican Drug Money

Posted on Apr 3, 2011
Flickr / Jesús Villaseca Pérez

More than 30,000 people have died in Mexico’s ongoing drug violence.

A new Guardian exposé  points an accusing finger at Wachovia Bank, which was recently purchased by Wells Fargo, for its alleged negligence in allowing the Mexican Sinaloa drug cartel to launder billions of dollars through the U.S. banking system. —JCL

The Guardian:

On 10 April 2006, a DC-9 jet landed in the port city of Ciudad del Carmen, on the Gulf of Mexico, as the sun was setting. Mexican soldiers, waiting to intercept it, found 128 cases packed with 5.7 tons of cocaine, valued at $100m. But something else – more important and far-reaching – was discovered in the paper trail behind the purchase of the plane by the Sinaloa narco-trafficking cartel.

During a 22-month investigation by agents from the US Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service and others, it emerged that the cocaine smugglers had bought the plane with money they had laundered through one of the biggest banks in the United States: Wachovia, now part of the giant Wells Fargo.

The authorities uncovered billions of dollars in wire transfers, traveller’s cheques and cash shipments through Mexican exchanges into Wachovia accounts. Wachovia was put under immediate investigation for failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering programme. Of special significance was that the period concerned began in 2004, which coincided with the first escalation of violence along the US-Mexico border that ignited the current drugs war.

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By Leslie Piper, June 23, 2011 at 11:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thanks very much. It must seem overwhelming to completely know that decency and fairness no longer have any foothold among financial and governing classes, yet knowledge itself is feedback of one’s essential existence…stay strong. It may be yet that the criminals will regret and humanity’s books will be balanced…

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By ardee, April 5, 2011 at 7:51 am Link to this comment

Is anyone really surprised? The “War on Drugs” is just another capitalist profit center, whether money laundering, jobs for prison guards, DEA agents or whatever. Ahhh America, ain’t it grand.

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By jc, April 4, 2011 at 11:38 pm Link to this comment
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A bankers radar is always on as long it translates into profits; think of them as sharks that never sleep.  Ethics: moral of the story do not get caught.  Appears law enforcement is the last to know what is occurring even though they are the ones implementing the law as agents.  While bankers and their associates in collusion devise ways to settle out of court and pay only a fine if necessary.  To add, down play the severity of situation.

Have seen what appears as a sting operation in an area known as, el central in TJ.  Never know who is who since local law enforcement and federales wear ski masks.  War on drugs is a P.R. campaign with no teeth.  Every now and then, a shipment is confiscated.  Luckily, a Liverpudlian someone outside the USA has brought gangsters disguised as bankers to semi-justice.

He endured the ordeal for doing his job that is Great!

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By msgmi, April 4, 2011 at 10:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The War on Drugs is a political ploy. It has no teeth and in the case of Wachovia, it’s another pay the fine scam and a slap on the wrist. Lots of talk, but no beltwayboy wants to do the walk.

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By Jim Yell, April 4, 2011 at 10:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thanks, years ago I figured that the legal banking system was laundering money from drugs. What took you so long?

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By marty weiss, April 3, 2011 at 7:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What’s worse is the synergy between drug lords, criminal banks and private prisons. Drug dealers take your money, put it in banks which then invest it in prisons taking profit from the imprisonment of users. The gov’t. pays fifty grand a year to incarcerate each inmate, who is now worth more as a prisoner than a free citizen.
It’s worth noting that gov’t. and Justice Dept. officials, specifically Cheney and Gonzales, are heavily invested in private prisons. The GOP, by the way, does not oppose all unions. The GOP supports the prison guards’ union.

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By rollzone, April 3, 2011 at 5:59 pm Link to this comment

hello. the whistle blower pointed out he was opposed
partly from timing, as major banks too big to fail were
then desperate for cash on hand; and that the two
largest money laundering hubs are now London and New
York City. major drug cartels are laundering their cash
on Wall Street, which controls government. nobody went
to jail. smugglers have immunity. the war on drugs is
futile and impotent. we are being run by illegal drugs.

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By samosamo, April 3, 2011 at 3:15 pm Link to this comment


That is why there appears to be no money anywhere, people’s
pockets, local, state, federal government. It is all being
laundered through all these ‘too big to fail’ criminal banks.
And that shows up in the ‘elites’ bank accounts, mostly off
shore and undetected, so they get absolutely free money, no
taxes and almost no fees because they do have to ‘persuade’
those offshore banks to not rat them out to the IRS, who
basically wouldn’t care anyway.

It is also why the drug war, almost like any war declared in
america, is ‘fought’ not to be won, but to be sustained which
up to a point is the one point in economics that can truly be
sustained profits.

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By TDoff, April 3, 2011 at 3:10 pm Link to this comment

Quelle surprise! A U.S. bank was somehow involved in the billions of dollars of dope money floating around America? For a real news story, try to find a bank that isn’t involved.

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