FAST Taskforce will combat bi-national money laundering

News Center 23
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POSTED: Monday, September 9, 2013 - 3:33pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - 7:12am

Money laundering: it's a big problem in both Mexico and the United States, but in the Rio Grande Valley, our proximity to the border makes it particularly prevalent.

"The, drugs, go up north and the money, the proceeds from these illicit drugs goes south," said Cameron County District Attorney, Luis Saenz.

But recently, multiple Valley agencies were awarded a multimillion dollar grant to help take care of this issue with a new taskforce called the "Financial Asset Seizure Team", or FAST.

"This Taskforce aims to disrupt that. Disrupt the money going South from drug dealing, from illegal aliens, from Casa de Cambios, from any other aspect of illegal activity that's engaged in here in the United States and the proceeds are sent back to Mexico," said Saenz.

Given that so many cases of drug smuggling and illegal financial transactions happen at the US-Mexico border, the FAST Taskforce is finding new ways to crack down on money launderers.

"If you want to take somebody out of business, you take their money, and that's you know, you strike at the heart and that's the way that you get them out of business so that's the whole objective...is to take their money," said Saenz.

One of the different methods of investigation the taskforce will use includes the monitoring of financial records, money transfers and money orders.

Reporting in Brownsville, Marty Watson, KVEO News Center 23.

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