TL;DR: Popular podcast The Joe Rogan Experience (JRE), episode 1408, featured Ed Calderon, a security specialist and combatives instructor with over 10 years of experience in public safety along the northern border area of Mexico. Calderon argued notorious cartels in the country are gaining financial sophistication, including employing use of cryptocurrencies to launder and safe keep their money.
Joe Rogan Podcast Expert: Cartels are “Putting Their Money in Cryptocurrency”
Calderon‘s second appearance on the Joe Rogan podcast was prompted by renewed, sustained violence along the US southern border and inside the country of Mexico at the hands of organized crime cartels. Recent higher profile killings of, for example, a Mormon missionary family in the country made international headlines, and even elicited comments from President Trump as to their brutality and general disregard for human life.
As a result, the US administration even flirted with formally designating Mexican cartels as terrorist organizations. It would effectively give the US legal sanction to take unprecedented action against organized crime in Mexico, including use of military options like drone strikes, according to Calderon. That provocative notion has since been walked back by the US President, but it hasn’t stopped lawmakers from crafting formal legislation to that effect as recently as just weeks ago.
Such a designation would also allow greater scrutiny of where cartels store their money, the hows, wheres, whos. “Where do the cartels keep their cash?” Rogan asked of Calderon during their nearly two-hour exchange at the 7:40 mark. “Right now it’s a myriad of things,” Calderon explained, “they diversified long ago, so it’s not like they’re keeping buried cash in a container somewhere in the jungle like Escobar used to do. They’re still finding some rotted cash from the 80s. They’re putting their money in cryptocurrency. They’re diversifying their investments in actual companies; so they’re cleaning their money that way,” he insisted.
Anecdotal evidence for Calderon’s claim has been lurking for more than a year, and can be traced back to a connection between Mexican cartels moving money through Chinese crypto channels, causing bureaus such as the US Drug Enforcement Agency to issue warnings about keeping closer tabs on exchanges especially. How much crypto-related laundering is really going on might be oversold, however. Turns out, government fiat bills and the traditional banking system are much more to the cartels’ liking, as CoinSpice detailed.
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