The Financial Intelligence Unit of Mexico (FIU) received information about 12 cryptocurrency trading venues that operate without legal authorization. Many experts consider that these exchanges are related to the notorious Jalisco Nueva Generación drug cartel.
Are The Mexican Cartels Dealing with Digital Assets?
After receiving information from various sources, the Financial Intelligence Unit of Mexico tracked and identified 12 local cryptocurrency exchanges that run their businesses illegally. During a recent seminar, Nieto Castillo – the head of the FIU – assured that the authorities would put their efforts to solve this issue:
“There are 12 platforms that are not registered, and that we know are operating illegally at this time… We are generating cases so that the Attorney General’s Office can operate in this regard.”
Castillo raised suspicions that the aforementioned exchanges might be related to criminals that employ digital assets in money laundering operations. Moreover, he did not rule out the possibility that the platforms can have a connection with the drug cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación as they are all based in that area:
“A fundamental issue will be to analyze cryptocurrencies and their relationship with criminal groups. I am struck by the fact that many of the cryptocurrency platforms are installed in several municipalities in the state of Jalisco.”
According to Mexican law, each of the 12 illegal trading venues will face a monetary penalty of up to $15,000.
So far, the FIU has identified at least three potential criminal cases through the use of digital assets. One of them involved Nigerian citizens in Mexico City, who used to drain cryptocurrencies from Mexican victims and sent them to their home country.
A Colombian Drug Cartel Member Laundered Millions in Crypto
This is not the first time when cryptocurrencies and drug cartels are mentioned together. As CryptoPotato reported last year, the Spanish police arrested a Dutch narco dealer of Colombian descent who allegedly laundered around six million euros in digital assets. The criminal was part of the notorious Cali cartel and represented the syndicate in Europe.
Interestingly, when the authorities caught the trafficker in his villa in Marbella, he was surrounded by multiple luxurious items, cars, expensive watches, and €85,000 in cash. The police seized all his belongings together with credit cards connected to cryptocurrency accounts, computers, and cell phones.