The victims and family members of cartel violence have taken their fight to one of the entities they claim has allowed for the explosive growth of Mexican organized crime — international banks.
This week attorney’s representing the families of some of the most famous cases of American’s being killed by Mexican cartels filed a lawsuit at the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Brownsville against banking leader HSBC and its multiple subsidiaries.
The basis of the lawsuit is that the financial institutions have provided material support to Mexican drug cartels by allowing them to launder billions of dollars leading to their explosive growth. The wording of the lawsuit compares Mexican cartels to terrorist organizations and likens the efforts of the banks to the individuals who finance terror groups.
The lawsuit which is more than 100 pages provides an in-depth history on the hundreds of attacks and violent activities by Mexican drug cartels both in Mexico and in the U.S.
The people behind the lawsuit include:
- Homeland Security Investigations agent Victor Avila and the family of HSI agent Jaime Zapata. According to the lawsuit, both agents were traveling in an armored vehicle with consular license plates in Mexico when they were attacked by a group of Los Zetas cartel gunmen who ran them off the road and shot the agents killing Zapata.
- The family of U.S. consular official Leslie Enriquez Redelfs and her husband El Paso County Detention Officer Arthur Redelfs who were gunned down by the Juarez Cartel in 2010, the lawsuit revealed.
- Victor Morales Jr. was getting married in Ciudad Juarez Mexico in 2010 when a team of 16 gunmen from the Sinaloa Cartel, along with the help of corrupt Mexican police, kidnapped him, his uncle and other relatives only to brutally execute them despite the pleadings of relatives that they were not tied to organized crime.
The lawsuit shows the historical rise of Mexican drug cartels following a shift in drug trafficking routes. Initially cocaine was moved into Florida. However, in the 1980s and 1990‘s the routes shifted toward Mexico where the cartels began as drug couriers for the Colombian cartels.
Over time the Mexican cartels developed into multinational criminal organizations. “With fleets of aircraft, trucks, ships, and even semi- and fully submersible sea vessels, the cartels have mobilized into sophisticated international networks, moving massive amounts of illicit narcotics into the United States each year,” the lawsuit states.
The material support by the banks comes in the form of money laundering. Drug money has to be concealed to make it look like it came from a legitimate business which according to the lawsuit is where HSBC has knowingly provided support in the endeavor while at the same time making a profit.