Wednesday, February 15, 2012


The flap over the seizure of bulk cash carried on board a chartered American business jet that landed in Panama demonstrates that the anti-money laundering programme run by the Drug Enforcement Administration needs tighter controls. The pilots, operating under the understanding that the funds they were transporting were the property of the US Government, appear to have unwittingly bulk cash smuggled criminal proceeds into Panama. They are not free to leave Panama, and the US Government does not seem to be assisting them.

The incident has publicly exposed the existence of an operation whereby DEA agents, in an undercover capacity, move dirty money for criminal organisations, ostensibly to learn more about the target groups. Unfortunately, in the process, the agency is assisting the criminal organisation achieve financial success. What's wrong with this picture ?

Unless the undercover operation results in a major intelligence coup, and resulting indictments of kingpins, and senior associates, laundering drug profits for an extended period is counterproductive. It only helps the narcotics traffickers. Perhaps this programme, if not subject to outside oversight, needs to be terminated, in favour of one that hurts, not helps, drug trafficking organisations.

1 comment:

  1. Money laundering is one of the most common white collar crimes. It needs a comprehensive investigation like those cases being handled by defense attorney Harris County (for example) so that the outcome can be favorable to those who filed the complaint. Hopefully, in this case, those true offenders can be held responsible for the unlawful act that they did.


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