Mexico City creates special unit to dismantle the local cartels’ money laundering schemes

Local cartels made many mistakes that led to their arrests or the confiscation of large amounts of cash

Mexico City creates special unit to dismantle the local cartels’ money laundering schemes
In 2020, authorities seized EUR 200,000, USD 100,000, and 16 luxury vehicles from La Unión Tepito - Photo: Carlos Zepeda/EL UNIVERSAL
English 05/08/2020 15:23 David Fuentes Mexico City Actualizada 15:23
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Mexico City’s prosecutor office created a special unit that collaborates with the Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF) to halt the crimes perpetrated by Mexico-City based cartels involved in drug trafficking, extortion, and kidnappings. The special unit has already tracked different methods used by the local cartels to launder the illicit money.

For example, the special unit discovered that La Unión Tepito has opened currency exchange companies, gas stations, gyms, salons, car dealerships, and apartment complexes. On the other hand, their rivals, La Anti-Unión Tepito, has opened restaurants, bars, clothing stores, spas, and motels. 

Nevertheless, these local cartels are not experts in money laundering and have made many mistakes that led to their arrests or the confiscation of large amounts of cash.

In 2020, authorities seized EUR 200,000, USD 100,000, and 16 luxury vehicles from La Unión Tepito. Meanwhile, authorities confiscated two gold bars and two silver ingots from La Anti-Unión.

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However, the biggest operation yet was a major blow to the Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel (CJNG). Mexico City authorities recently seized MXN 37 million from the cartel, who would allegedly use the money to purchase weapons, recruit new members, and create a new armed group to operate in the capital. The money would also be used to bribe the local police. 

In February, authorities arrested three members of the CJNG in Mexico City, who were carrying MXN 1.4 million. The local police followed their vehicle for several days and authorities knew they would transport the money to a home located in Tepito. Authorities then launched a special operation and arrested the three suspects.

Months later, Mexico City authorities arrested two suspects while they transported MXN 1 million in cash. The investigation revealed the two criminals had ties to La Anti-Unión Tepito and that they were in charge of transporting large amounts of cash from a restaurant located in the Guerrero neighborhood to a home located in Tlalpan, where cartel boss “El Tortas” lived before his arrest in May. 

For now, the special unit is working to dismantle the local cartels’ financial operations, especially La Unión and La Anti-Unión; nevertheless, it has set its sights on the Tláhuac Cartel, Los Rodolfos, among others.

In the case of the Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel, the cartel that launched a deadly attack against Mexico City’s police chief Omar García Harfuch, intelligence reports indicate local authorities are working to dismantle the CJNG’s financial structure. 

Authorities discovered the bloody Jalisco cartel has purchased apartments in the Miguel Hidalgo, Benito Juárez, and Cuajimalpa boroughs.

Furthermore, they identified a woman with ties to La Unión Tepito, who was allegedly in charge of laundering the money and providing large amounts of money when needed. Mexico City authorities believe she was the one who provided resources to purchase weapons, vehicles, and pay the gunmen to kill García Harfuch.

Recommended: Raiding Tepito, Mexico City's most dangerous neighborhood

The CJNG collaborated with three Mexico City-based criminal organizations to attack García Harfuch

The deadly Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel collaborated with several Mexico City-based criminal organizations to launch the attacked against Omar García Harfuch, the city’s police chief. 

Investigations indicate the CJNG members planned to set García Harfuch’s vehicle on fire and that the CJNG deployed members of La Unión Tepito, the Tláhuac Cartel, and a recently created criminal group called ACME. Moreover, ACME provided vehicles, warehouses, and homes for the gunmen to stay before the attack. 

The Mexico City-based organizations

ACME operates in northern Mexico City. It is dedicated to theft in public transport, theft, and burglary. In February 2020, the criminal group started selling drugs in locations controlled by La Unión Tepito. The criminals were looking to expand their criminal activities with the help of the CJNG. 
 
One of the trucks used in the attack against Harfuch was seen leaving a warehouse that belongs to ACME. Meanwhile, members of La Unión Tepito were in charge of monitoring García Harfuch’s activities. 
 
The Tláhuac Cartel deployed their gunmen for the attack. The local organization also provided homes for the gunmen to hide. 

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