In a single case investigated by Guatemalan security services, $46.7 Million of Sinaloa drug cartel money was seized and 21 people arrested in December for money laundering violations in Guatemala. A fruit and vegetable was serving as a front company that was sending money to Mexico along with payments of avocados.
Criminal justice programs in Guatemala are seeing an increase in suspicious financial transactions and are reporting more potential money laundering cases. In the first six months of 2013, a total of 76 potential laundering reports were filed that involved $58.2 Million in funds.
In all of 2012, a total of 131 suspicious transactions were filed totaling $31.9 Million. 30 percent of the reports for 2012 were involved possible government corruption, 28 percent were extortion cases, drug trafficking accounted for 17 percent, and the remaining reports were from human trafficking, tax fraud, illegal adoptions and other scams and frauds.
Financial crimes investigators state that a single money laundering case can involve up to 50 bank accounts.
In additional to tracing money through bank accounts, security services have also seized cash from smugglers. $11.4 Million in cash was seized from people smuggling the money, with most of the seizures taking place at the Guatemalan Airport.
Source: Araceli Osorio, “Guatemala fights money laundering,” Infosurhoy, January 14, 2014.