US Says Drug Gangs Moving Money Via China Crypto Channels

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American law enforcement agencies are worried that large drug cartels and transnational criminal organizations are making increasing use of cryptocurrency channels to conduct their money laundering operations.

The issue attracted much attention at a US congressional hearing into Mexican drug cartels and border security on December 12, with several senior government officials speaking of the growing threat posed by the crime syndicates and difficulties in tracking illicit money.

“The participation of Asian money launderers has become more prominent in some areas,” said Paul Knierim, deputy chief of operations in the Office of Global Enforcement at the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

“The shift toward Chinese and Asian money launderers is believed to be, in part, due to the natural relationship created by the large volume of both licit and illicit trade goods and chemicals imported from China. The use of an Asian money broker simplifies the money laundering process and streamlines the purchase of precursor chemicals and paraphernalia utilized in manufacturing drugs for street sales,” Knierim said.

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