Mexico City — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Assistant Secretary John Morton and Department of Homeland Security Counternarcotics Enforcement Director Grayling Williams, presented the results of a study on the proceeds of organized criminal activity and money laundering to a joint U.S.-Mexico working group at a conference held in Mexico City. The working group, which was formed in October 2009, aims to further efforts by ICE and the government of Mexico to disrupt the flow of cash used to fuel criminal operations.
This groundbreaking bi-national study attempts to track the mechanisms used by criminals on both sides of the border to hide their ill-gotten gains. It demonstrates how money is transported, diverted into legitimate channels, or exchanged for goods and services. For the first time, the study quantifies important indicators of this illegal financial network.
"This study provides an overview of the criminal proceeds 'supply chain,'" said Morton. "It is my hope that this study will help better identify the key nodes and vulnerabilities to disrupt bulk cash smuggling and money laundering."
Through the greater understanding of bulk cash smuggling and money laundering that this report affords, Mexico's Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF) and the U.S. Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN), along with a host of other U.S. and Mexican law enforcement agencies will be better able to collaborate in reducing the funds available to narco-cartels, thereby reducing their ability to corrupt and intimidate officials and citizens alike.
"Through a more precise and detailed understanding of these networks, their key players, and financial institutions, our binational law enforcement cooperation can hit the cartels right where it hurts – in their pocketbooks," said U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Carlos Pascual.
CNE funded the study and collaborated in partnership with ICE and with the Government of Mexico Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Publico (SHCP). Unidad De Inteligencia Financiera (UIF) led the effort to produce this bi-national study. Booz Allen Hamilton provided the project support services.
"ICE and our foreign law enforcement partners are poised, as never before, to work together to stop money going south and to stop drugs from coming north," said Morton.