By MARTHA MENDOZA Associated Press Writer
6/2/2010 4:20 PM (what a good time for a press release! /Blair)
A first-ever study targeting the exorbitant wealth of Mexico's drug lords shows more than half the money smuggled out of the U.S. each year is cash that never passes through a bank, making it nearly invisible to law enforcement.
That cash is either stashed away or directly spent in Mexico, where 75 percent of business is done in cash. Drug moguls can buy real estate, cars, airline tickets and just about everything else in cash, allowing their powerful businesses to easily launder the estimated $19 billion to $29 billion they earn each year selling cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana in the U.S. (note: the $USten billion fudge factor, are these guys serious? A recent report also confirmed that 60% of the US/Mexico Border drug trade value is Cannabis. /Blair )
"Now that we see what a cash-based economy there is here, we can see why it's going to be important for Mexico have restrictions on how cash can be used, or to require that large purchases are accompanied with notary certificates reported to the Treasury," said U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Carlos Pascual. (note: last week to cash a mere $AU20 at a NZ "WestPac" bank required photo ID - are we kidding ourselves or what... /Blair)
In the U.S., by contrast, just 20 percent of all transactions are conducted in cash.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Assistant Secretary John Morton unveiled some of the findings Wednesday in Mexico City, saying that neither country has done enough to get at the money supporting Mexico's drug cartels. (nor has it any real intention to do so.. it would cripple the grey economy, and they know it. /Blair)
"Until now, we didn't know enough about this problem in the U.S. or Mexico," he said. "Simply arresting people won't be a complete solution. We have to undermine the organizations and businesses, we have to identify, seize and forfeit their profits."
>for more see related articles
"By NZ's blind to the consequences signatory status to the Single Convention we are complicit in endorsing this policy fraud and thus equally responsible for the 22,000 deaths that are directly attributable to 'drug policy failure'. We may as well take these folk and shoot them ourselves." /Blair