December 6, 2013
Fox News, 12/5/2013
Lawyers for a former Mexican governor charged in the United States with money laundering and drug trafficking say the charges are based on false accusations by people trying to bargain with U.S. prosecutors.
Attorney Josel Androphy says witnesses against former Tamaulipas Gov. Tomas Yarrington gave false information to get leniency from the U.S. government. Androphy spoke Thursday in Mexico City along with three Mexican lawyers for Yarrington.
July 1, 2013
Prepared by Constance McNally
The Black Market Peso Exchange (BMPE) is a system by which drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) both move and launder earnings from drug sales. This is traditionally accomplished by a broker selling U.S. located proceeds from DTO sales to foreign importers who need U.S. dollars to purchase American goods. It was originally used by Columbian DTOs, but has been adopted by Mexican DTOs. 
As depicted above, traffickers located in the United States drop off U.S. dollars they receive from drug sales with a peso broker. This broker usually makes small deposits under the $10,000 limit at which banks must report the transaction. The broker also has a contact or broker with whom they have a partnership in their home country, in this example Mexico, who handles delivery of the equivalent peso amount to the DTOs in Mexico. The broker in Mexico uses pesos obtained by Mexican importers looking to purchase American goods with U.S. dollars for the delivery to the DTOs. The broker in the U.S. then uses the U.S. dollar denominated drug proceeds deposited with him by the DTOs to pay for the goods purchased by the Mexican importer.  The broker makes a profit on the exchange rate spread and also charges a small fee.  DTOs are able to launder their profits, legitimate U.S. companies knowingly or unknowingly are able to increase sales and profits, and importers save money on exchange rates and fees. The system has proven so successful that it was identified by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, a division of the U.S. Treasury Department, as “the single most efficient and extensive money laundering “system” in the Western Hemisphere.” The simplicity of the system and its potential variations makes it difficult to disrupt. Future tools for disrupting certain aspects of it, such as tightened currency transaction limits, may prove to be useful in combatting its success.
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July 1, 2013
A US court on Friday sentenced a former Mexican governor to 11 years in prison for conspiring to launder drug money. Mario Villanueva Madrid, 65, who headed the state of Quintana Roo from 1994 to 1999, was accused of conspiring to launder millions of dollars in bribes from the Juarez drug cartel through accounts at banks in the United States and elsewhere. He pleaded guilty in August.
Initially arrested in Mexico in 2001 and later convicted there on organized crime and corruption offenses, he was extradited to the United States in May 2010. His sentencing Friday took into account the six years he already spent behind bars in his homeland, a prosecution spokesman told AFP. According to a statement from the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, Villanueva Madrid made a lucrative deal with the Juarez cartel in 1994 that ensured its cocaine shipments traveled safely through Quintana Roo. Over the next five years, he amassed millions of dollars, and by late 1995 began transferring the funds to accounts in the United States, Switzerland and elsewhere.
May 10, 2013
A federal jury in Texas convicted the brother of two alleged leaders of Mexico’s Los Zetas drug cartel of setting up a racehorse enterprise to launder millions of dollars in illicit profits, authorities said on Thursday. The jury found Jose Trevino Morales, 46, guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas said in a statement.
Prosecutors said Trevino Morales is the brother of alleged Zetas leaders Miguel and Oscar Omar Trevino Morales. Both men were named co-defendants in the case and are at large. The jury also convicted Mexican businessman Francisco Colorado Cessa, 52, horse trainer and purchasing agent Fernando Solis Garcia, 30, and 49-year-old horse trainer Eusevio Maldonado Huitron.
January 28, 2013
El Universal, 1/28/2013
According to a report released by the U.S. Senate about the International Narcotics Control, the annual amount of money laundered and smuggled by narcotraffickers was about 39 billion dollars. The report also claims that the money was trafficked across the border by trucks and other vehicles.
This figure also demonstrates that illicit operations by Mexican cartels have increased in both the United States and Mexico since money trafficking and laundering increased from 18 billion to 39 billion between 2008 and 2012.
December 17, 2012
Wall Street Journal 12/17/2012
Some say Eugenio Velázquez, a well-known architect in Tijuana, got off easy. In March, he tried to cross the border with nearly 13 pounds of cocaine stuffed in his car battery. Last week, a federal judge in San Diego slapped him with six months in prison and six months home detention.The judge accepted Mr. Velázquez’s story that drug traffickers put a gun to his head and threatened to harm his family if he didn’t smuggle their blow.
December 12, 2012
The Guardian, 12/11/2012
U.S. authorities defended their decision not to prosecute HSBC for accepting the tainted money of rogue states and drug lords on Tuesday, insisting that a $1.9bn fine for a litany of offences was preferable to the “collateral consequences” of taking the bank to court.
The bank processed cash for Mexico‘s Sinaloa cartel, regarded as the most powerful and deadly drug gang in the world, among others. At least $881m in drug trafficking money was laundered throughout HSBC accounts. In order to handle the “staggering amounts of cash”, the bank even widened the windows at some branches to allow tellers to accept larger boxes of money.
August 29, 2012
Animal Politico, 8/29/12
A federal judge ordered the arrest of the ex-governor of Tamaulipas, Tomás Yarrington, on charges of laundering money for the Gulf Cartel. Apparently the accusations against him have been verified by three different protected witnesses. The “Yarrington case” started in May when a federal Attorney Generals Office in the U.S. accused Yarrington of becoming governor by using illicit drug proceeds, which he also invested in Texas, which led to them seizing his properties.
August 27, 2012
Police in Nicaragua say they have found at least $7m (£4.4m) in cash in vans confiscated on Wednesday from 18 people posing as journalists.
They were detained trying to cross Nicaragua’s northern border in six vans, some of them painted with the logos of Mexico’s Televisa network.
Police chief Aminta Granera said the money was found in three of the vans.
August 17, 2012
Walmex V-series shares fell 6.2 percent to 35.80 pesos ($2.70) a share on Mexico’s stock exchange Wednesday following release of the letter from U.S. Reps. Henry Waxman and Elijah Cummings describing the new allegations.
“We have obtained internal company documents, including internal audit reports, from other sources suggesting that Wal-Mart may have had compliance issues relating not only to bribery, but also to ‘questionable financial behavior’ including tax evasion and money laundering in Mexico,” the two U.S. congressmen wrote in the letter to Michael Duke, CEO of Wal-Mart Stores.
Walmex said in a statement that “it has no knowledge that (it) is being investigated by Mexican authorities concerning these issues.”