Sunday, November 13, 2011

MONEY LAUNDERING: Hiding in Plain Sight

Some years ago, it was an annual ritual to participate in a road trip to Laredo/Nuevo Laredo.  Stocking up on fake rolexes, drinking cheap margaritas, and eating authentic Mexican food was standard fare.  Generally, it was courthouse personnel, lawyers, and a sprinkling of an occasional judge in attendance.  Those days are gone.

Last time we all traversed to that part of the country, our usual trek to the Mexican side of the border was met with the sight of young Federales with AK-47s on nearly every other corner.  It was a sign that events were unfolding unknown to us under the radar.  Our fears were eventually realized in the ensuing months in the form of some highly publicized (and some not so publicized) kidnappings and robberies.

Now the New York Times has reported in this article, that even more activity was taking place in plain sight under the guise of normal business activity (a perfume salesman making millions!).  Whether stings like this make a difference in the big picture, I don't know.  But time will tell whether I can ever buy another fake rolex again from my favorite Mexican border town.

[NOTE:  You might be interested to know, that according to the official TXDPS statistics, Laredo (pop. 231,000) had 9 homicides reported in 2010, El Paso (pop. 625,000) had 5, and Austin (pop. 796,310) had 38.  El Paso had one of the lowest murder rates in the country per capita for cities over 250,000.]

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