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China’s ‘underground bankers’ accused of supporting Mexican cartel

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A Chinese “underground banking” network is suspected by the US of aiding Mexico’s Sinaloa narcotics cartel in money laundering and other crimes.
The DoJ has accused 24 persons with drug distribution and other offenses.
Police confiscated $5m (£4m) in cash, firearms, and hundreds of pounds of cocaine, methamphetamine, and ecstasy tablets.
The DoJ has emphasized strong cooperation with Mexican and Chinese law enforcement, which China has reiterated.
The US blames the Sinaloa cartel for flooding the nation with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50 times stronger than heroin, fueling a fatal pandemic.
The DoJ highlighted a “conspiracy” involving Sinaloa cartel members and Chinese underground “money exchanges” that transferred over $50m in drug earnings.
The report alleged Sinaloa operators were using these subterranean transactions to transfer unlawfully obtained US funds to Mexico.
This Chinese exchange offers a “ready market” for US dollars, the DoJ claimed, noting that some Chinese citizens desire “informal alternatives” to traditional banks since Beijing limits their outflows.
Beijing’s arrest of a money-laundering suspect, reported by AFP, seemed to corroborate the uncommon tight coordination with the US.
The guy ran a US auto business before resorting to “illegal foreign exchange trading”.
Most of the 24 indictees will appear in a Los Angeles court “in the coming weeks”, the DoJ said.
China disputes the US accusation that it flooded the nation with dangerous medicines like fentanyl.
Over 70,000 Americans died from fentanyl overdoses in 2022, and Washington believes Chinese-made opioids are causing the biggest drug epidemic in history.

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