Saul Goodman, is that you?
Apparently, you don’t have to be a fictional lawyer on a tv series in order to break bad.
Marco Antonio Delgado, a 46-year-old lawyer from El Paso, TX, goes to trial next week on alleged charges that he conspired to launder $600 million for the Milenio cartel or Cártel de los Valencia by drafting fake court papers representing that cash proceeds were from legal settlements when in fact they were drug receipts as reported by Torsten Ove for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
It’s funny because organized crime cannot exist without dirty lawyers.
The accused lawyer has a philanthropic side, and in 1990 he founded the Marco Delgado Fellowship for the Advancement of Hispanics in Public Policy and Management at H. John Heinz III College at Carnegie Mellon Univsersity where he once served as a trustee.
A federal judge in Washington, D.C. has sentenced Aurelio Cano Flores — a dirty-cop-turned-narco-boss — to 35 years in prison and ordered him to forfeit $15 billion after his drug trafficking conviction according to a DOJ press release:
Cano Flores began working for the Gulf Cartel in approximately 2001, while he was serving as a police officer in Mexico. During his time as a police officer, Cano Flores recruited others into the Gulf Cartel, collected drug money and escorted large shipments of cartel drugs to the U.S. border. Cano Flores ultimately rose through the ranks of the Gulf Cartel to become a major transporter of narcotics within Mexico to the U.S. border and became the Cartel’s top representative in the important border town of Los Guerra, Tamaulipas, Mexico. As the “plaza boss” for Los Guerra, Cano Flores oversaw the mass distribution of cocaine and marijuana into the United States on a daily basis.
The $15 billion forfeiture order “represents the gross receipts of the Gulf Cartel’s drug sales into the United States from its principal distribution centers located along the U.S.-Mexico border” involving at least 1.4 million kilograms of cocaine and 8,000 metric tons of marijuana between 2000 and 2010. The feds probably aren’t going to see any of the cash.
Apparently the art market has become a favored vehicle by which to launder money in the criminal underworld as reported by Patricia Cohen for The New York Times:
Roll up a canvas and it is easy to stash or move between countries; prices can be raised or lowered by millions of dollars in a heartbeat; and the names of buyers and sellers tend to be guarded zealously, leaving law enforcement to guess who was involved, where the money came from and whether the price was suspicious.
Brazilian judge Fausto Martin De Sanctis in his upcoming book Money Laundering Through Art “argues for more concerted international regulation, saying that if businesses like casinos and gem dealers must report suspicious financial activity to regulators, so should art dealers and auction houses.”
In Las Vegas, NV the street gangs are placing less emphasis on strife and more focus on profit as reported by George Knapp for KLAS:
Sgt. Will Huddler said the new hybrid gangs might be Crips and Bloods and include members who are black, white and Hispanic, making it less obvious to police and less hostile to each other. Illicit profits are their goal, and social media are their most valuable tools. Metro police have had to likewise adapt. “They have now come to the conclusion that it is better to pursue their business interests rather than shooting at each other and everybody makes money,” Lt. Chris Petko said.
For real gangsters it’s always about the money; violence is just for street thugs.
The New Orleans District Attorney has brought a racketeering indictment against 15 suspected members of the 110′ers gang “involving 15 killings, numerous attempted murders and armed robberies and other violence across the city” as reported by John Simerman for The Times-Picayune. Among the charged murders is the 2012 killing of a 5-year-old girl who was brought down by stray gunfire while attending a birthday party. Apparently the DA only recently discovered the “obscure state racketeering statute.” Really? Better late than never.
The drug cartel Los Zetas is attempting to win the hearts and minds of the Mexican people by throwing parties for the kids as reported by Santiago Wills for ABC News and Univision: “as entertainers welcomed kids to games and trampolines, cartel members set up notices throughout the city, urging the population to rethink Los Zetas’ role, and thanking children for bringing joy to their homes.”
The sadistic cartel also apparently has convinced some that because it genuflects before the Catholic Church it must fear God as reported by Damien Cave for The New York Times: “it’s true that for all their infamous cruelty — beheadings, kidnappings, the mass murder of 72 Central and South American migrants in 2010 — the Zetas are also known for their respect of the Catholic Church.”
Sometimes the dirty devil hides behind a pious front; beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing.
The Treasury Department has identified eight more bosses from the Sinaloa drug cartel pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act which subjects their U.S. assets to seizure and bans Americans from conducting business with them as reported by Damien Cave for The New York Times. The move is largely symbolic which will have little, if any, impact on the Sinaloa bosses or their operations because they have so few permanent assets in the United States and law enforcement traditionally is reluctant to prosecute the banks and other businesses which launder their money into Mexico. Cartel head and Forbes-listed billionaire Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has been designated for years with no adverse consequence on his drug racket. Indeed, the latest kingpin designations were met with a cynical response as reported by Lindsey Reiser for KPHO: “experts tell us this information won’t have any impact on that crime unless we do something about it.”