August 15, 2022, 10:06:27 PM

Author Topic: Serve, Protect, and Profit: how Florida cops laundered millions for drug cartels  (Read 13036 times)


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To serve, protect and profit

Some great reporting here, but the obvious question is how much they will pry into the DEA's role in all of this. Welcome to the new normal in America, where an international criminal money laundering syndicate is operating behind a badge and with the tacit approval, or at least under the blind eye, of the Federal Government...


* Police in Bal Harbour, Florida teamed up with the Glades County Sheriff Department, to create the Tri-County Task Force (TCTF) that would run an operation to sting some of the biggest drug cartels and criminal organizations in the country.

* Agents of the 12-member TCTF used fake identities to pose as money launderers for drug cartels and other criminal organizations.

* Over a three year period from 2009 to 2012, the TCTF laundered at least $56 million for cartels and crime syndicates. There are indications however that the amount may be even higher?perhaps $83 million?due to the fact that the task force "fell into the habit" of not keeping any records.

* TCTF agents would fly all over the United States, sometimes as far away as Arizona, California, and New York to pick up cash to be laundered. The jet-setting agents sometimes made two deals per day. They traveled first-class on flights, and racked up tens-of-thousands of dollars at hotels like the Bellagio in Las Vegas, and fancy restaurants like the Chop House in Chicago.

* Deals were sometimes done with agents of DHS and the DEA, despite the dubious legality of the operation.

* For each money laundering deal the task force collected a 3% commission, amounting to at least $1.7 million, which would be held as evidence in the sting.

* The dirty money would be counted, documented and then deposited at the nearby SunTrust Bank, where TCTF agents created secret accounts under dummy companies to launder the money.

* Instructions would be given to the undercover agents when they picked up the money on which businesses to wire the money to after it was washed. Many of these fronts are still operating to this day.

* Instead of paying for the operation from the local police budget, agents used the dirty drug money as they purchased hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of weapons and equipment, and paid for hotels, flights, food, and rental cars. A court ordered approval, which was required to use the drug cash since it was actually the EVIDENCE of these operations, was never granted.

* Officers then began withdrawing large amounts of cash directly from the secret bank accounts. On 12 confirmed occasions, at least $547,000, and possibly well over $800,000 was withdrawn with out any documentation by the officers of where the money went. It simply vanished.

* Even more troubling is that for months at a time, deals were being done and huge sums of money were being deposited without any paperwork at all. Dozens of cases never reported or tracked are now being uncovered which are estimated to have involved over $28 million.

* The TCTF was rushing to do so many deals, that it deputized two retired cops living in New York to bring in additional cartel funds from the north.

* In early 2010, the task force began laundering millions overseas at banks in Panama and China. Apparently the DEA had "no idea." The Miami Herald turned up 138 overseas transfers worth $7 million.

* The task force caught heat in 2012 from the Department of Justice, with the Office of the Inspector General issuing a scathing report. Despite the OIG acknowledging that millions flowing into the TCTF accounts were not being accounted for, they never did their own audit.

* In 2013, the FBI probed the TCTF money laundering operation, but decided that the case did "not appear to be a violation within the FBI?s jurisdiction."

* Despite doing over 225 money-laundering deals in a three year period, the TCTF never made a single arrest. Police Chief Tom Hunker, who created the task force, claims that information was passed on to DEA agents that led to the arrest of 200 criminals. The DEA could not confirm that figure.

FBI Letter RE: Tri-County Task Force; July 3, 2014
OIG Report #2012-005018
« Last Edit: July 26, 2015, 11:11:16 PM by Mr.X »
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