Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Despite its “strong” efforts to counter money laundering, Bank of America allowed the largest drug cartel in Mexico to use its accounts to invest in U.S. horse racing.
José Treviño Morales, the older brother of the No. 2 man in the notorious Los Zetas cartel, Miguel Treviño Morales, has been indicted along with 14 other people by the U.S. government for using personal and business BofA accounts under the name of Tremor Enterprises LLC. The company bought and sold quarter horses using money generated from cocaine trafficking, extortion and bribery, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. They even brazenly named one of their horses “Number One Cartel.”
Apparently the purchases were also good investments. One of the horses, Mr. Piloto, earned a million dollars by winning a single race, the 2010 All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs Race Track in New Mexico, although the FBI suspects that Treviño bribed “gatekeepers to hold back the horses competing against Mr. Piloto.”
Larry Di Rita, a BofA spokesman, refused to address the pending criminal case. But he did say: “We have strong anti-money-laundering procedures and work closely with the authorities when suspicious activity is discovered.”
Los Zetas, which controls 11 Mexican states, is responsible for shipping thousands of kilograms of cocaine into the U.S. each year.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
To Learn More:
FBI Says Cartel Used Bank of America to Launder Money (by Joe Schneider, Bloomberg News)
A Drug Family in the Winner’s Circle (by Ginger Thompson, New York Times)