Monday, September 17, 2012

Drugs, Money Laundering

This is a letter I wrote to my Representative in Congress, Chris Murphy. One of the reasons I wrote it is because so many Latinos are going to prison for selling drugs, while the money side of the drug trade and the involvement of banks is only beginning to be investigated. Murphy is currently running for senate in Connecticut as a Democrat. He is also my neighbor.

175 Paul Ney Road
Cheshire, CT 06410

( (203) 272-8246

June 7, 2012

The Honorable Christopher S. Murphy
Room# 412, Christopher S. Murphy, House Office Building
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Subject: Ethics and Oversight

Dear Chris,

What a great job you are doing on Ethics and Oversight in Congress. I saw on your website that your interest extends to the oversight of government in general. Recently I read about a key aspect of drug crime that affects the U.S. and that I think is huge.

According to the attached article in The Guardian, big banks are making big profits from laundering money for the drug trade. This began to receive major publicity when “it emerged that… cocaine smugglers had bought [a] plane with money they had laundered through Wachovia, now part of the giant Wells Fargo.” (“How a big US bank laundered billions from Mexico's murderous drug gangs” Ed Vulliamy, The Guardian, April 2, 2012.) Wachovia was charged with this crime yet no bank employees were “identified.” The case never came to trial. The outcome was a settlement reached with Wells Fargo, a small fine compared to the profits and damage from their crime.

The case showed that Wachovia’s actions were “only the tip of the iceberg” of bank profits from the drug trade. Vulliamy, the author, writes, “the drug trade has two products, money and suffering.” The inevitable consequence of greed for the money is the suffering of those who are addicted to drugs, victims of organized crime, and the Countries in Latin America experiencing disastrous violence. 97% of drug profits go to the banks and criminal syndicates both here and in other developed countries (described in a separate article by Vulliamy, which I can also send.)

Better oversight is critical to taking on the money laundering. So many branches of government are involved, from law enforcement to bank regulators. Others in Congress who have responsibility for these agencies should also be addressing this crime.


Ana Arellano

P.S. It’s great being your neighbor and…Red Sox rule!

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