HomeNewsBriefCongress to Investigate DEA Cartel 'Money Laundering'
BRIEF

Congress to Investigate DEA Cartel 'Money Laundering'

MEXICO / 7 DEC 2011 BY GEOFFREY RAMSEY EN

U.S. congressmen are investigating reports that drug enforcement agents laundered millions of dollars for Mexican drug cartels as part of an attempt to monitor and disrupt their profit flows.

After the New York Times published a story last week which claimed that U.S. officials facilitated money laundering schemes in their efforts to crack down on Mexican drug cartels, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee has launched an investigation into the matter.

In a strongly-worded letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Representative Darrell Issa accused the Justice Department of doing more to promote illegal activity than fight it, claiming Holder had green-lighted a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) program which “lacks appropriate operational safeguards to prevent the implementation of such dangerous schemes,” with “disastrous” consequences.

Issa further alleged that such programs have made the U.S. an "accomplice to the Mexican drug trade," and requested that Holder’s office hand over information on the DEA’s money-tracking activities to his committee today.

Based on the Times article, however, there is no immediate evidence of foul play. While narcotics agents may have been involved in laundering money for Mexican drug trafficking groups, the circumstances behind this are unknown. As security analyst James Bosworth notes, this lack of data makes it difficult to judge the calculus behind the DEA’s operations.

What's more, Issa's indignation at the Times' report may have more to do with his own political agenda. As InSight Crime has reported, he has made a name for himself as a major opponent of the Obama Justice Department. Along with Senator Charles Grassley, Issa spearheaded the recent campaign against the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives (ATF's) controversial "Operation Fast and Furious," under which roughly 2,000 guns were allowed to cross the U.S. border.

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

COLOMBIA / 4 DEC 2014

As Transparency International publishes its annual rankings on corruption, InSight Crime looks at how corruption is impacted in Latin America…

GULF CARTEL / 28 JAN 2011

38 Mexican police officers in the small town of General Teran, in Nuevo Leon, abandoned their posts after a series…

AYOTZINAPA / 5 FEB 2016

The German arms company Heckler & Koch is accused of illegally shipping G36 firearms to Mexico. Those rifles, once considered…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…