As David Kestenbaum reports for National Public Radio, the government can
be quite sneaky from time to time in its pursuit of alleged criminals.
Take the drug cartels in the 1990s, for instance. After the government
set up an offshore bank, the cartels began laundering money – $20
million worth – straight into the hands of the authorities. The
operation ultimately resulted in more than 100 people arrested in connection
drug offenses, which probably ran the gamut from possession to distribution to drug
Reasonable people can debate whether such a stunt makes any sort of dent
in the so-called War on Drugs, but Kestenbaum does mention at the end
of his article that it certainly made the drug cartels think twice about
laundering money through banks.
A quick review of reader comments shows a range of opinions (as usual)
about the government’s operation. Many seem to believe that it was
a success, in that more than 100 people were arrested in connection with
the money laundering. Others say that the cartels simply turn illegitimate
money into legitimate money by setting up their own banks and private
Still others believe that the War on Drugs, including this fake-bank operation,
ends up costing American taxpayers more to prosecute than it ever does
in stopping the flow of illicit drugs across the nation’s borders.