Early in September, hundreds of police officers and other law enforcement officers raided businesses in the Fashion District in Los Angeles. The warrants obtained for the raids cited Black Market Peso Exchange (BMPE) type schemes for money laundering. The raid targeted several businesses and resulted in the seizure of more than 65 million dollars. Officials had been conducting investigations for the past two years.
The Sinaloa Cartel was tied to at least one of the businesses that were raided. Sinaloa Cartel’s income in the Fashion District came from ransoming individuals that work along the United States-Mexico borderBeing able to link the cartel to operations in the Fashion District proved useful. The cartel allegedly kidnapped a United States drug dealer, who was held and tortured just over the border in Sinaloa, Mexico. He was ransomed and his family agreed to pay the sum to the cartel.
When speaking about the raids, FBI’s Bill Lewis lauded the efforts of all of the enforcement officers involved, and hoped that this sent a message to cartels across the nation that the FBI would not sit around and allow such actions to continue.
But what are BMPE schemes?
BMPE schemes involve money acquired through drug sales, and peso brokers. The brokers are responsible for exchanging foreign currency earned off of drug sales for the local peso. They do this by offering the foreign currency they have on hand for a better exchange rate that is offered via other brokers.
Money received from laundering cases can come from a number of sources, including drug trafficking and ransom.
Authorities hope that these raids will be seen as a warning to other cartels operating in California, and the rest of the United States. The California Anti-Money Laundering Alliance (CAMLA) is a specialized task force that provides a network for officers in California to utilize as they search for money laundering offenders.
With raids like this happening in Los Angeles, it is good to be prepared in the event of a lawsuit. If you or someone you know has been charged with money laundering, or if you are worried you might be charged in the future, it is important to seek legal counsel. At Premier Federal Criminal Defenders, we are experienced with many forms of drug litigation, including drug trafficking and money laundering. Contact us today for a free consultation.