May 28, 2015
5/27/2015 InSight Crime
Major US banks have recently closed branches along the southern border with Mexico in an attempt to crack down on money laundering, a reflection of the ease with which Mexican drug traffickers can legitimize illicit proceeds north of the border.
In recent months, major banks such J.P. Morgan and Bank of America have closed their branches in the border town of Nogales, Arizona, reported The Wall Street Journal. Other banks, including Wells Fargo and Chase, have reportedly closed hundreds of customer accounts, many of which belonged to Mexican nationals.
January 21, 2015
Mexico’s attorney general said on Tuesday he expects the United States to submit an extradition request soon for drug lord Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman, who was Mexico’s most wanted man until his capture last February.
“I’m aware they’re going to ask me, and it won’t be a problem to do all the paperwork to determine at the time what will be most convenient,” Attorney General Jesus Murillo told reporters in Mexico City of the U.S. extradition request.
September 18, 2014
A former top official in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila, whose case became a symbol of Mexican government corruption, has pleaded guilty in Texas to federal money laundering charges, according to court documents. Hector Javier Villarreal Hernandez was charged in Mexico with using his position as Coahuila’s Secretary of Finance to take out nearly a quarter billion dollars in fraudulent loans between 2008 and 2011, using the credit of the state as collateral.
April 15, 2014
Mexico has announced plans to fight money laundering by using “kingpin” lists like those issued by the United States, although unlike the public U.S. list, Mexico will make its registry confidential, a Mexican official said Monday. Alberto Elias Beltran, the official in charge of implementing a new money laundering law at the Finance Department, said the list will be made available only to authorities, anyone accused of money laundering and financial institutions.
“There could be a person who follows the procedure to be excluded from the list and we don’t want them to affect their reputation by making this list public,” Elias Beltran said. The criteria that will be used to put a person or a business on the list hasn’t yet been determined but the government hopes the first list will be ready by the end of April, he said.
Elias Beltran added that the list will be immediately sent to financial institutions that will have to “immediately suspend any operation or service being provided to those added to the list.” The law mainly bans those on the list from using Mexico’s financial system, including using current bank accounts or opening new ones, but it doesn’t currently provide for criminal charges against anyone, he said.
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.