Last December, Ginger Thompson of the New York Times wrote an article about a money-laundering operation run by the Drug Enforcement Administration, to track cartel members via U.S. dollar movement.
The operation, and its “high-risk activities raise delicate questions about the agency’s effectiveness in bringing down drug kingpins, underscore diplomatic concerns about Mexican sovereignty, and blur the line between surveillance and facilitating crime” (New York Times).
Still, the money-laundering scheme appears to be a much better move to track the movement of drug cartels than the catastrophe that was/is the Fast and Furious operation run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), in which the ATF “allowed people suspected of being low-level smugglers to buy and transport guns across the border in the hope that they would lead to higher-level operatives working for Mexican cartels. After the agency lost track of hundreds of weapons, some later turned up in Mexico; two were found on the United States side of the border where an American Border Patrol agent had been shot to death” (New York Times).
In light of being considered comparatively safer than the not-safe-at-all Fast and Furious operation, the money-laundering story needs an update. Because: where is ALL that money?
And then there is this: “So far there are few signs that following the money has disrupted the cartels’ operations, and little evidence that Mexican drug traffickers are feeling any serious financial pain. Last year, the D.E.A. seized about $1 billion in cash and drug assets, while Mexico seized an estimated $26 million in money laundering investigations, a tiny fraction of the estimated $18 billion to $39 billion in drug money that flows between the countries each year” (New York Times).