Attempts to smuggle cash from Texas into Mexico have spiked following the country's decision last year to partially lift a cap on U.S. dollar deposits, according to federal investigators.
When the DOJ accused 14 in June of washing Mexican cartel money via a horse racing operation, it signified a rare feat in the drug war: a prosecution built solely on money laundering charges. Despite years of trying to choke the cash networks of Mexicans drug gangs, such cases remain the exception.
Personally letting law enforcement agents know about clients' questionable activity can be crucial to identifying money launderers, according to Hector Colon, unit chief of the Illicit Finance and Proceeds of Crime Unit of Homeland Security Investigations at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The United States released $197 million in aid for equipment and training in Mexico, as part of a regional program to combat drug trafficking and terrorism, according to government officials.
The U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network alerted financial institutions to look out for large deposits of small denomination bills from Mexican financial institutions using the U.S. financial industry as a conduit to launder drug proceeds.
Casas de cambio, or currency exchange houses, in Mexico are now required to report suspicious transactions and meet other anti-money laundering requirements similar to those of banks in the nation.