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Justice Department to Share $2.9 Million in Equipment with Mexican Authorities to Fight Organized Crime, Enhance Extradition

Late yesterday, U.S. Department of Justice and Mexican law enforcement officials signed an agreement that will support Mexican efforts to combat the financial infrastructure of organized crime and enhance cooperation in extradition matters. Through the agreement, the Department will share more than $2.9 million in equipment with the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic (PGR) and the Ministry of Public Security (SSP) of the United Mexican States in recognition of Mexico’s assistance leading to the forfeiture of more than $19 million in a narcotics money laundering investigation. The forfeiture resulted from a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigation into a drug trafficking and money laundering organization’s use of Mexican casa de cambio offices in Mexico to launder drug proceeds through an account at Union Bank of California. In 2007, the Union Bank of California agreed to forfeit these funds to the United States as part of a deferred prosecution agreement resulting from violations of anti-money laundering provisions of the U.S. Bank Secrecy Act, in a case prosecuted by the Criminal Division’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section. During the investigation of the case, Mexican authories provided valuable cooperation to U.S. investigators and prosecutors. Under the agreement, the shared assets will be used to purchase equipment that will strengthen PGR’s and SSP’s capacity to investigate and prosecute money laundering crimes, as well as Mexico’s ability to forfeit the proceeds of crime. This initiative is designed to complement ongoing bilateral efforts to increase pressure on the economic resources of the criminal organizations that operate in Mexico and along the U.S./Mexico border. A portion of the shared assets also will be used to acquire equipment to expedite apprehension and extradition of people from Mexico who have committed crimes against the United States and other nations. Bilateral cooperation in extradition helps bring to justice violent criminals and other offenders seeking to evade prosecution in the United States, and who may also threaten the Mexican communities in which they seek to hide. The agreement was signed by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, Mexican Attorney General Arturo Chávez Chávez and Mexico’s Secretary General of the Federal Police Oswaldo Luna Valderrabano. The U.S. State Department will assist in its implementation.
Updated April 7, 2017