According to a US Department of Justice official, international drug traffickers launder $85 billion a year in the United States.
El Universal reports that the Jennifer Shasky, chief of the department's Asset Foreclosure and Money Laundering Section, said the Sinaloa Cartel, one of the largest in Mexico, uses shell companies registered in the US as part of its money-laundering operations.
In her testimony, Shasky said that US law makes it easy to establish shell companies and difficult to investigate them.
InSight Crime Analysis
Shasky's testimony highlights the key role US businesses and financial institutions play in international money laundering.
The advanced, efficient financial system of the US allows traffickers to easily launder large amounts of money, with the added benefit of conferring legitimacy on the money that passes through it.
US authorities have been criticized for not taking action against the laundering of profits from organized crime through the banking system. One example is Wachovia bank, which was accused of wilfully failing to implement money laundering regulations, but managed to avoid prosecution.