TL;DR: Mainstream legacy media seldom tire of connecting the international War on Drugs to cryptocurrency. However, crypto’s participation is near zero by comparison to its government fiat and traditional banking counterparts. Recently, a Wells Fargo banker plead guilty to working with the notorious Mexican Sinaloa drug cartel in a huge money laundering scandal.
Sinaloa Cartel Prefers Wells Fargo
“Luis Fernando Figueroa of Tijuana pleaded guilty in federal court,” Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of California announced, “to money laundering charges, admitting that he worked with others to launder and transfer money to Mexico through accounts he opened up at Wells Fargo as a personal banker.”
Authorities peg nearly $20 million in government bills were processed over a two year period, 2014-2016, “on behalf of Mexican based drug trafficking organizations to include the Sinaloa Cartel.” Personal bankers such as Figueroa, 30, were a prized get: access to traditional banking and the heavily regulated legacy system, once breached, could signal relatively smooth sailing.
The operation was far from confined to Figueroa and Tijuana, Mexico. “Other members of the money laundering organization, known as couriers, travelled to Los Angeles, Chicago, Charlotte, Boston, New Jersey, and New York City to pick up bulk cash narcotics proceeds that ranged from thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars in narcotics proceeds. The couriers made contact with individuals holding the bulk cash in private residences or public places such as parking lots and retail stores. The cash was typically concealed in shopping bags, duffel bags or shoeboxes,” officials explained.
The cartel is one of the most violent in all of Mexico, and its tentacles reach internationally, though its power and profits are driven by decades-long prohibition efforts known as the War on Drugs, widely acknowledged as a disaster and failure by most experts. Policies emanating principally from the United States, where demand is also strong for the cartel’s products, are said to be keeping cartels in business generally, along with legacy banking. Wells Fargo has been a giant headache and drain on American taxpayers for at least a decade now, from bailouts to constant lawsuits about its most basic practices.
Cash deposits in the tens of thousands at a time through Wells Fargo and other US banks were wired by the likes of Figueroa “to a series of Mexico based shell companies operated by the money laundering organization,” and eventually onto the Sinaloa Cartel itself. Figueroa is facing 20 years in prison and a half million dollar fine. Not a single Wells Fargo executive has been prosecuted for their respective roles in scandals dating back to 2008.
DISCLOSURE: The author holds cryptocurrency as part of his financial portfolio, including BCH.
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