January 10, 2012 in News
US agents helped launder millions in drug proceeds (AP):
Mexico’s government allowed a group of undercover U.S. anti-drug agents and their Colombian informant to launder millions in cash for a powerful Mexican drug trafficker and his Colombian cocaine supplier, according to documents made public Monday.
The Mexican magazine Emeequis published portions of documents that describe how Drug Enforcement Administration agents, a Colombian trafficker-turned-informant and Mexican federal police officers in 2007 infiltrated the Beltran Leyva drug cartel and a cell of money launderers for Colombia’s Valle del Norte cartel in Mexico.
The group of officials conducted at least 15 wire transfers to banks in the United States, Canada and China and smuggled and laundered about $2.5 million in the United States. They lost track of much of that money.
In his testimony, the DEA agent in charge of the operation says DEA agents posing as pilots flew at least one shipment of cocaine from Ecuador to Madrid through a Dallas airport.
The documents are part of an extradition order against Harold Mauricio Poveda-Ortega, a Colombian arrested in Mexico in 2010 on charges of supplying cocaine to Arturo Beltran Leyva. A year earlier, Beltran Leyva was killed in a shootout with Mexican marines in the city of Cuernavaca, south of Mexico City.
The documents show Mexico approved Poveda-Ortega’s extradition to the United States in May, but neither Mexican nor U.S. authorities would confirm whether he has been extradited. Mexican authorities listed his first name as “Haroldo.”
The documents offer rare glimpses into the way U.S. anti-drug agents are operating in Mexico, an often sensitive subject in a country touchy about national sovereignty.
On one occasion, the informant who began working for the DEA in 2003 after a drug arrest met with the girlfriend of a Colombian drug trafficker in Dallas and offered to move cocaine for their group around the world for $1,000 per kilo. In a follow-up meeting, the informant introduced the woman to a DEA agent posing as a pilot. The woman is identified as the girlfriend of Horley Rengifo Pareja, who was detained in 2007 accused of laundering money and drug trafficking.
Another scene described the informant negotiating a deal to move a cocaine shipment from Ecuador to Spain and minutes later being taken to a house where he met with Arturo Beltran Leyva.
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