How’s that? It’s not like L.A. has lots of… Mexicans:
Federal agents launched a series of raids in the downtown Los Angeles fashion district on Wednesday and seized an estimated $65 million in cash and other assets they allege were part of a widespread attempt by Mexican drug cartels to launder narcotics profits.
Nine people were arrested in raids targeting 70 locations, many of them businesses in the fashion district.
Federal officials said they believe the drug organizations have used numerous businesses in the garment district to convert their vast earnings into pesos, turning Los Angeles into a hub for “trade-based money laundering.”
“Los Angeles has become the epicenter of narco-dollar money laundering with couriers regularly bringing duffel bags and suitcases full of cash to many businesses,” Robert E. Dugdale, the assistant U.S. attorney in charge of federal criminal prosecutions here, said in a statement.
This part is comforting:
In the most harrowing scheme detailed in the three indictments released Wednesday the Sinaloa cartel allegedly directed ransom money to be delivered to Q.T. Fashion Inc., a maternity apparel wholesaler on East 12th Street.
The ransom involved a drug distributor who had fallen into debt to the cartel when U.S. agents intercepted a shipment of 100 kilograms of cocaine he was responsible for. He was allegedly kidnapped and tortured at a ranch in Sinaloa until he could pay off the debt. His family and friends delivered at least $140,000 in bulk cash to the Los Angeles business, according to the indictment