HomeNewsBriefA Look at the 'Clean' Side of Mexico's Cartels
BRIEF

A Look at the 'Clean' Side of Mexico's Cartels

MEXICO / 21 NOV 2012 BY GEOFFREY RAMSEY EN

An investigation by Mexican news site La Policiaca reveals how the powerful Sinaloa Cartel laundered much of its money through entertainment and construction companies in central Mexico.

According to internal records obtained by La Policiaca, the Sinaloa Cartel laundered illcit funds in Mexico State, San Luis Potisi and Mexico City through shell companies nominally involved in construction scaffolding, bars and indoor soccer fields.

The documents, which come from the Financial Intelligence Unit of Mexico's Attorney General's Office, reveal that two of the cartel's main accountants, Jose Luis Laddaga Lopez and Pedro Alfonso Alatorre Damy, alias “El Piri” -- both of whom have since been arrested -- oversaw the laundering activities of these companies from 2004 to 2007. One of these included a popular bar in the city of Metepec, in Mexico State, which according to La Policiaca and Proceso was a popular destination for the state's political and economic elites.

Although these companies regularly reported thousands of dollars in losses and conducted major transactions in cash, it took three years before the companies attracted the attention of law enforcement officials. 

InSight Crime Analysis

The case illustrates the importance of cracking down on the financial activity of Mexico's drug cartels. In October the country passed a long-awaited money laundering law which seeks to regulate cash transactions, a common laundering tool used by criminal organizations. Even still, there is reason to question whether it will be enough to tackle the scale of money laundering in the country. The wide range of companies used in the case demonstrates the difficulty of cracking down on the problem. With the Sinaloa Cartel and other major drug trafficking organizations regularly making billions of dollars in profits every year, tracing their financial investments is tricky business. Some officials in the country estimate that as much as $50 billion -- representing some three percent of the country's total economic output -- is laundered annually. 

This activity is not limited to Mexico. While the United States Treasury has frozen the assets of druglords like Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman and his relatives in the country and prohibited US corporations from doing business with him, much of the Sinaloa Cartel's illicit proceeds continue to be laundered in the US southwest, especially in the state of Arizona. Considering the wide distriution network employed y cartels and the massive margin of profit from the drug trade, it is likely that this practice extends to elsewhere in the country as well. 

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

DRUG POLICY / 9 NOV 2012

The head of President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto’s transition team stated that the move to legalize marijuana in two US states means…

MEXICO / 6 JAN 2014

Mexico's citizen self-defense or vigilante groups have made major shows of strength as the year has begun, indicating that…

LA FAMILIA MICHOACANA / 23 JUN 2011

A pair of recent arrests have underscored the increasing vulnerability of La Linea, once one of the most potent criminal…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…

THE ORGANIZATION

Informing US State Department and European Union

1 APR 2022

InSight Crime Co-director McDermott briefed the US State Department and other international players on the presence of Colombian guerrillas in Venezuela and the implication this has for both nations.  McDermott…