Terry Goddard Applauds Action in Mexico to Curb Money Laundering

(Phoenix, Ariz. -- Aug. 26, 2010) Attorney General Terry Goddard commended new laws proposed today by Mexican President Felipe Calderon to fight cross-border money laundering that supports the violent drug cartels in Mexico. 

Calderon announced he is proposing a new law that would ban cash purchases of real estate and other expensive goods costing more than 100,000 pesos, or about $7,650. He also proposed requiring businesses to report large transactions, including real estate, jewelry and purchases of armor plating. 

"I am very pleased with today's announcement by President Calderon that he intends to strengthen Mexico's anti-money laundering laws," Goddard said. "As I told Mexican officials during my visit there in February, such changes are crucial to our joint efforts to crack down on the vicious cartels that have killed so many south of the border and smuggled so many drugs and people into our country.  I urge the Mexican Congress to act quickly on these essential reforms."

Some estimates of the cross-border smuggling of cash to the cartels have been above $25 billion a year. In its four-year-old offensive against the drug cartels, the Mexican  government has drawn criticism for not doing more to block the flood of cash that funds their criminal activities, including human smuggling. 

"Today, more than ever, it is essential to act and have the tools needed to hit criminals where it hurts most, in their finances," Calderon said today.

Goddard said anti-money laundering techniques developed by his Office can help Mexican authorities bring actions against the cartels. Those investigative techniques were praised in a recent report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), which recommended adoption by the federal government. Goddard also noted that his Office's work in helping train more than 400 Mexican prosecutors should be helpful in enforcing the new laws and vowed to make such help available as long as it is needed.  

For more information, contact Press Secretary Molly Edwards at (602) 542-8019.