View Full Version : How the cartels get their money

05 Aug 10,, 03:59
"Too Big to Jail" - How Big Banks Are Turning Mexico Into Colombia
Justice Litle, Editorial Director, Taipan Publishing Group
Wednesday, August 04, 2010

As if the megabanks hadn't done enough, fresh evidence shows their hand in making Mexico a narco-state.

The Dogs of War
are men of hate...
With no cause,
We don't discriminate...
- Pink Floyd, "Dogs of War"

Ah, Megabanks, how we love thee. Let us count the ways... Like clockwork, you create a new crisis every five to seven years or so with your greedy, pig-headed lending. You routinely cover your tracks with torrents of lobbying cash poured into Washington. In the subprime mortgage crisis and the financial meltdown that followed, you nearly succeeded in blowing up the global economy. And then, in the aftermath, you arranged one of the greatest swindles ever, getting the system to make you whole again (via taxpayer blood and treasure) even as a majority of Americans suffered.

The above is plenty of reason to be disgusted, one could fairly conclude. But as that legendary pitchman Ron Popeil likes to say: "But wait - there's more!"

Now we learn that, joy of joys, plundering and pillaging the rotten financial system was not enough for these men. They also saw fit to directly fuel the Mexican cocaine trade... knowingly aid in the laundering of billions, even tens of billions, in bloody drug money... and do their part in helping turn Mexico into Colombia, a struggling developing world country slowly descending into the hell of a narco-state.

Exaggeration? Sadly not...

Black Suitcases and a DC-9

A recent issue of Bloomberg Markets magazine ran a deeply unsettling story titled "Wachovia's Drug Habit."

The story opens with the seizure of a DC-9 jet loaded up with "128 black suitcases, packed with 5.7 tons of cocaine," good enough for a street value of $100 million.

"Law enforcement officials also discovered something else," Bloomberg Markets magazine reports. "The smugglers had bought the DC-9 with laundered funds transferred through two of the biggest banks in the U.S.: Wachovia Corp and Bank of America Corp"...

"This was no isolated incident," the story adds. "Wachovia, it turned out, had made a habit of helping move money for Mexican drug smugglers. Wells Fargo & Co., which bought Wachovia in 2008, has admitted in court that its unit failed to monitor and report suspected money laundering by narcotics traffickers - included the cash used to buy four planes that shipped a total of 22 tons of cocaine."

Blind Eye, Greedy Eye

Narcotics is big business in the United States. According to the U.S. Justice Department, Bloomberg reports, "the cartels have built a network of dealers in 231 U.S. cities from coast to coast, taking in about $39 billion in sales annually."

Thirty-nine billion is some serious dough. You don't move that kind of cash without the help of your friendly megabanker.

"It's the banks laundering the money for the cartels that finances the tragedy," says Martin Woods. "If you don't see the correlation between the money laundering by banks and the 22,000 people killed in Mexico, you're missing the point."

And just who is Martin Woods, you ask? He is the former head of Wachovia's anti-money-laundering unit in London. Woods is no longer in that role, having quit his job in "disgust" as higher-up executives ignored his documentation of the drug-money funneling process.

The profits from quietly washing that $39 billion clean were too big to pass up... and so the banks turned a blind eye instead.

The list of banks with questionable connections to the multibillion-dollar drug trade sounds like a "who's who" of financial might: Wachovia (now Wells Fargo). Bank of America. American Express Bank International. HSBC Holdings. Citigroup. Banco Santander. Western Union. There are probably more...

Too Big to Jail

"No big bank - Wells Fargo included - has ever been indicted for violating the Bank Secrecy Act or any other federal law," says Bloomberg. "Instead, the U.S. Justice Department settles criminal charges by using deferred-prosecution agreements, in which a bank pays a fine and promises not to break the law again."

In plain English, "Too Big to Fail" has become "Too Big to Jail." The megabanks are seen as too important to the health and functioning of the U.S. financial system to risk hitting them with criminal charges.

Perversely, the current setup actually reinforces criminal activity. When breaking the law results in a small financial fine, it doesn't take long before the fine is seen as a simple "cost of doing business." The megabanks, protected as they are from on high, are thus encouraged to do whatever they please and take their slap on the wrist later.

A Descent Into Hell

Roughly a month ago, Rodolfo Torre was ambushed and gunned down on a rural Mexican highway. Torre was the clear front-runner in a bid to become governor of Tamaulipas, a Mexican state bordering Texas. Along with Torre, his chief of staff, campaign chief and bodyguard were also killed.

This happened just across the border. Just imagine if a U.S. political candidate running on a strong anti-trafficking platform were hunted down.

In fact, we may not have to imagine at all, because a similar threat has arisen in Arizona... Joe Arpaio, the Sherriff of Maricopa County, Ariz., now has a $1 million bounty on his head. It was placed there by a Mexican drug cartel, Fox Phoenix reports. Do you think the cartel really has the money? I do. I wonder how they got it...

The number of people killed in the never-ending drug war continues to escalate. By some estimates 22,000 has become 25,000. Less than a week ago, four journalists were kidnapped. Attempts by the local police force to stand up to gang threats result in people's heads in baskets. Mexican pop singers who compose song ballads to drug barons, known as narcocorridos, are gunned down in cold blood when a rival baron gets offended. The Mexican Army, supposedly fighting the gangs, has gotten so out of control as to become a source of local terror themselves.

Mexico is on the way to becoming a failed state, or rather, a narco-state. The war on drugs has been completely and irrevocably lost. We are at the point where further efforts to "crack down" only serve to increase the profits of the cartels by raising the street value of various illegal substances. And the money poured into drug-fighting enforcement measures by both the U.S. and Mexican governments only serves to increase the size and frequency of violent, bloody shootouts.

Meanwhile, the dogs of war - i.e. the 'Too Big to Jail' banks - casually sit back and help fund it all.

No Redemption?

As Mexico morphs into Colombia - a de facto fiefdom for drug barons - America's "Great Recession" is showing more signs of being a Soft Depression for some. The latest stats indicate 25% of Americans have a credit score of less than 600, making them ineligible for any basic loans. A frightening majority of Americans are two paychecks or less from total destitution. And things are getting worse...

There seems to be no way around the final conclusion. America is gorging itself to death on complacency and ignorance. Our delusions and self indulgences are now, literally, costing thousands of lives. And the white-collar travesties being perpetrated at the highest levels are helping to transform an immediate neighbor, Mexico, from a promising developing world nation into a blood-soaked third-world hellhole.

What can we do about any of this? "Throw the bums out?" Which bums exactly? Replace the Democrat in the White House with another Republican? Fat lot of good that would do... just look what the last Republican did. When an empire shows itself to be in the final stages of crumbling, perhaps the only sane thing to do is stay wise, stay wary, and focus on the well-being of your loved ones...

05 Aug 10,, 04:29
Oh they got the money. This was reported siezed a few years ago from a mexican cartel house.

05 Aug 10,, 08:28

Thats just a freaking insane amount of money.

Maybe they could lend some to the US government to stimulate the economy? :rolleyes:

05 Aug 10,, 14:15

Thats just a freaking insane amount of money.

Maybe they could lend some to the US government to stimulate the economy? :rolleyes:

I actually counted the stacks and tried to estimate the amount of money just in the big stack. There are 408 stacks and at $50,000 bundles, there should be about $20.4 million bucks there.

05 Aug 10,, 16:37
I actually counted the stacks and tried to estimate the amount of money just in the big stack. There are 408 stacks and at $50,000 bundles, there should be about $20.4 million bucks there.

And then they blame me for refusing to flip burgers for $7 an hour.:biggrin::biggrin:

13 Aug 10,, 04:17
If I were working for the Feds, I'd round up the bank executives at the dock, tie a heavy stone to each one of them, and push them into the water :cool: Of course I'd then have a bounty on my head :biggrin:

Then again, there might be a better idea. Make the bank executives lose the cartel's money. That way I can have their hitmen do all the work :tongue:

For the Mexican drug cartels to be able to operate with impunity, a few precursors would have to be in place. Having immense amounts of moolah with which to enforce the plata o plomo policy is one of them. With the law enforcement bribed down, the cartels can operate with a high degree of impunity. Having large reserves of USD - a globally trusted currency - makes life easier.

I wonder how a USD crash la Weimar Republic would affect them, other than forcing them to adopt a different currency.

Destruction of a large-scale financial institution might qualify as a military tactic, at least in the context of asymmetrical warfare. If said tactic were used against the cartels (denying them a means through which to obtain funds for their operations), it could be used in coordination with other tactics to curtail their operational freedom. This should be conducted carefully and only after careful planning, since this is akin to breaking open a beehive :redface:

And yet another idea just popped into my head. I heard somewhere that Chairman Mao once advocated the widespread distribution of drugs in the enemy's society as a military tactic. I wonder if he learned this after studying the Opium Wars.

Red Seven
24 Aug 10,, 21:34
Cash and trinkets. Gold and silver plated firearms encrusted with diamonds. I don't care what Eric Holder says, you can't get these at the Walmart in McAllen, Texas.



24 Aug 10,, 22:16
If they would put some handcuffs on some of those bank CEO's it would curb some of this crap. NOBODY should be above the law. This is so disgusting.