The Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s Office on Tuesday revealed new charges of money laundering conspiracy to eliminate Colombian drug traffickers with ties to the United States.
The newly unsealed indictment targets 19 people – residents of Colombia, Jamaica and Florida – who allegedly took part in what US attorney Rachael S. Rollins described as a “really convoluted conspiracy”.
The defendants are accused of facilitating large cash transfers and withdrawals, then obscuring the money trail or ‘cleaning up’ proceeds from the illegal sale of narcotics through a peso exchange on the black market. The organization allegedly laundered about $6 million through US financial institutions, Rollins told a news conference.
“The exchange is a way for Colombian drug trafficking organizations with profits generated from drug sales in the United States to launder their profits into Colombian pesos,” Rollins said. “Each of these 19 defendants held different roles and responsibilities, including drug suppliers, peso brokers, money launderers and dollar buyers.”
US authorities say they have connected 3,000 kilograms of seized cocaine – valued at more than 90 million – to the money laundering organisation. The allegations are the product of a five-year investigation involving hundreds of agents, secret and confidential sources, and cooperating witnesses used to infiltrate the narcotics operation.
“The money laundering scheme detailed today has allowed drug traffickers to peddle their poison in Massachusetts and across the United States,” Drug Enforcement Special Agent Brian D. Boyle told reporters. Administration. “Our neighbours, friends and families are impacted by the vast and sophisticated operations of drug cartels that know no borders.”
Five of those charged were arrested in Florida and Jamaica this morning and 13 others were arrested in Colombia and Jamaica last month. The United States is seeking the extradition of those outside the country, Rollins said.