This is part one of an investigation into a revolutionary money laundering system involving Chinese organized crime, Latin American drug cartels and Chinese officials.
Some critics of Beijing say that analysis applies to another threat: fentanyl.
China is the top producer of the lethal drug that has killed tens of thousands of Americans. . . China’s pharmaceutical sector still sells fentanyl precursors and analogues that reach Mexico, where cartels produce opioids — and work with Chinese money launderers. . .
by Sebastian Rotella and Kirsten Berg, ProPublica, October 11, 2022
In 2017, Drug Enforcement Administration agents following the money from cocaine deals in Memphis, Tennessee, identified a mysterious figure in Mexico entrusted by drug lords with their millions: a Chinese American gangster named Xizhi Li.
As the agents tracked Li’s activity across the Americas and Asia, they realized he wasn’t just another money launderer. He was a pioneer. Operating with the acumen of a financier and the tradecraft of a spy, he had helped devise an innovative system that revolutionized the drug underworld and fortified the cartels.
Li hit on a better way to address a problem that has long bedeviled the world’s drug lords: how to turn the mountains of grimy twenties and hundreds amassed on U.S. streets into legitimate fortunes they can spend on yachts, mansions, weapons, technology and bribes to police and politicians.
For years, the Mexican cartels that supply the U.S. market with cocaine, heroin and fentanyl smuggled truckloads of bulk cash to Mexico, where they used banks and exchange houses to move the money into the financial system. And they also hired middlemen — often Colombian or Lebanese specialists who charged as much as 18 cents on the dollar — to launder their billions.
Invoking Archangel Michael,
Sanat Kumara & St. Germaine
for help to balance this situation.
As one who sees first-hand effects of street drugs
on vulnerable people, the reporting above
expands my understanding.
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