(Before It's News)
Translated by Chuck B Almada for Borderland Beat from a La Jornada
October 24, 2016
- Cartel emissaries make bank deposits of less than $10k in the US
- Another cartel strategy to launder illicit funds
- DEA identifies two siblings in New York that made 7 bank transactions in two hours
- They posed as tourists
- In case of being caught, the consequences are minor
In the photographs, Alejandra Salgado and her younger brother, Roberto appeared to Manhattan
. Roberto was carrying a shopping bag while she was wearing a white dress and a leather purse around her shoulder; however, their purpose in Manhattan
is what se
ts them apart from actual tourists. Within two hours, federal agents photographed the siblings while they went to seven different banks where they deposited just less than ten thousand dollars, cash during each transaction. The District Attorney’s office said that these small deposits in different banks are one of the methods used by Mexican cartels to launder thousands of millions of dollars in the U.S.
without alarming the banking regulators and IRS.
be simple tourists walking around downtown
The cartels collect a great part of their profits in the American Market in the same manner that they introduce cocaine and other drugs: through furtive crosses of the border. And according to James Hunt, DEA agent in charge of the New York Office, the micro deposits at banks continues to be one of those methods. The deposits are small because the banks are required to notify the IRS of any transactions greater of ten thousand dollars. Additionally, the advantage to the cartel is that if the emissaries get caught, the amount of money seized would be minor at the time of an arrest. On the other hand, a potential sentence on the emissaries could be minor.
Prior to being arrested in September, the Salgado siblings would charge a fee to launder up to a million dollars a month. These funds were from the profits collected from drug vendors linked to the Sinaloa Cartel, this according to DEA agents.
Alejandra Salgado, 59 years of age, with a Mexico City
address, was in the United States
with an expired visa and was supervised by a cartel leader. The investigation in New York
by the DEA started once her name surfaced as part of an investigation into a money laundering operation in Southern-California, Michigan
, and Arizona
. The details contained within the reports of the federal agents exposed the details on how the Salgado siblings operated. Previously, she would transport money across the border in a vehicle however; she was later tasked with making bank deposits into bank accounts that were opened with fake names. She was also required to write checks to an agricultural company in San Diego, California
what was controlled by the cartel.
In a wiretap conversation, she was heard saying that the task was tedious but less dangerous than transporting money across the border. After her boss told her that there was a lot of work in New York, she went there with her brother, a legal resident from Alaska, and stayed in a hotel in Manhattan in mid 2013. For security reasons, she preferred to meet the drug dealers to collect the money in downtown Manhattaninstead of meeting them in the territories in which they operated such as the Bronxor Washington Heights. In a conversation with an undercover agent, she was heard saying “as a friend told me, this is a business for tough people and everything is based on trust.” They were already under investigation when the siblings made about 20 transactions of amounts between $8,100 and $9,600 in several banks throughout Manhattan.
According to DEA Bridget G. Brennan, it was worth following the money trail to “learn the practices” of the cartels. During the trial in which the Salgados were sentenced, their lawyer described them as minor participants. The penalties for money laundering are minor and the Salgados took a guilty plea in exchange of sentences between one and four years. The attorney of Alejandra Salgado, Robert W Georges said that his client would be deported following her sentence, something that she accepts. “She feels remorse and wants to continue her life in Mexico
” Georges said.
Prison and deportation is perhaps not what Salgado had in mind when she told an undercover agent during a recorded conversation that money laundering is a good way of making a living in the treacherous world of drugs. “I’m calm and live in peace.”