DOJ: Mexican Cartel Used Middle Eastern Honor System to Launder U.S. Currency

Birmingham Central Mosque
Birmingham Central Mosque / Reuters

Court documents filed in federal court claim that a suspected drug traffickers linked to Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel used a Middle Eastern honor system to launder drug proceeds. Known as a Hawala, members of the conspiracy would be hired by cartel members in Canada and Mexico to move drug proceeds through the honor system that does not leave a paper trail as couriers move the money between countries.

“Drug traffickers in Canada would generate drug proceeds from multi-kilogram and multi-pound sales and distribution of drugs provided by Mexican cartels, including the Sinaloa Cartel,” court records obtained by Breitbart Texas revealed.

A Hawala need two brokers who would transfer the money between each other on a trust basis thus not leaving behind any promissory notes or legally binding documents for authorities to seize.

Federal authorities have arrested 15 members of the Sinaloa linked Hawala network and are searching for seven others who are all named in a criminal indictment.

The indictment alleges that the Hawala network transferred more thank $4.5 million in drug proceeds and was also tied to the trafficking of 29 kilograms of cocaine and 90 kilograms of methamphetamine.

However according to information provided to Breitbart Texas by the U.S. Department of Justice, authorities were able to seize $15,467,293 in bulk cash, 11 kilograms of Ecstasy and 9 kilograms of heroin as well during a four year investigation. The case was led by the U.S Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service and local law enforcement partners.

The most recent turn on the case took place Friday afternoon when Gurkaran Singh Isshpunani went before a U.S. magistrate judge to be formally charged. The man who was described as the leader of the Hawala network had been arrested on September 14 in Buffalo New York as he tried to enter the country from Canada where the 34-year-old man is believed to reside. .

The 14 other members of the network who have been formally charged and pleaded not guilty hail from Canada, California and India.

The seven fugitives have been identified as

  • Sanjeev Bhola, of India;
  • Balwat Bhola, of India;
  • Bakshish Sidhu, of India;
  • Jason Robert Carey, 37, a resident of the province of Ontario;
  • Jesus Manuel Perez Rios, 33, of Coachella, who authorities believe fled to Mexico;
  • Tina Pham, 25, of Montreal; and
  • a Canadian man known only as “Buddy.”

Ildefonso Ortiz is an award winning journalist with Breitbart Texas you can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.

Hawala Drug Money Laundering INDICTMENT


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