Wachovia Bank Laundered Money for Latin American Drug Cartels

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Between 2004 and 2007 Wachovia Bank handled funds totaling $378.4 billion for Mexican-currency-exchange houses acting on behalf of drug cartels. Wachovia conceded it didn’t do enough oversight in processing the $378.4 billion for Mexican-currency-exchange houses from 2004 to 2007. The transactions amount to the largest violation of the Bank Secrecy Act, an anti-money-laundering law, in U.S. history.

Between 2006 and 2010, over 22,000 people have been killed in drug-related battles that have raged mostly along the 2,000-mile (3,200-kilometer) Mexico-U.S. border. Illegal narcotics cost the U.S. economy $215 billion annually.

Martin Woods, who directed Wachovia’s anti-money-laundering unit in London from 2006 to 2009, left the bank after Wachovia executives disregarded documentation he produced showing drug dealers were channeling money through Wachovia’s branch network.

The case of Wachovia is not exceptional; it is just one of the U.S. and European banks that have been used by the drug cartels to launder money. Since the early 1990s, Latin American drug traffickers have gone to U.S. banks to launder their dirty cash, says Paul Campo, head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s financial crimes unit.


Article Title: American Banks ‘High’ On Drug Money: How a Whistleblower Blew the Lid Off Wachovia-Drug Cartel Money Laundering Scheme, AlterNet, November 1, 2011.
Author: Clarence Walker

Article Title: The Banksters Laundered Mexican Cartel Drug Money, Economic Populist, June 29, 2010.
Author: Robert Oak
URL: http://www.economicpopulist.org/content/banksters-laundered-mexican-cartel-drug-money.

Article Title: Banks Financing Mexico Gangs Admitted in Wells Fargo Deal, Bloomberg, June 29, 2010.
Author: Michael Smith
URL: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2010-06-29/banks-financing-mexico-s-drug-cartels-admitted-in-wells-fargo-s-u-s-deal.html>.

Student Researcher: Alysha Klein, Florida Atlantic University
Faculty Advisor: James F. Tracy, Florida Atlantic University