Florida cops run a money laundering operation for drug dealers raking off millions
Posing as money launderers, police in Bal Harbour and Glades County, Fla. laundered a staggering $71.5 million for drug cartels in an undercover sting operation, according to an in-depth investigation by The Miami Herald. With fake identities, undercover officers made deals to pick up cash from criminal organizations in cities across the country. Agents then delivered the money to Miami-Dade storefronts and even wired cash to banks overseas in China and Panama. After laundering the cash, police would skim a three percent commission fee, ultimately generating $2.4 million for themselves.They never made a single arrest. That might have shut down their skimming operation. They claimed that other agencies made 200 arrests but could not document any of them or name those arrested.
“If you think of all the money that’s made from drugs, at some point it has to be cleaned up and become legit,” remarked Finn Selander, a former DEA agent and a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. But unless proper precautions are taken, sting operations can “backfire” and “come back and bite you in the proverbial ass.”
Together, the Bal Harbour Police Department and the Glades County Sheriff’s Office formed the Tri-County Task Force, which, despite the name, consisted of only two agencies. From 2010 to 2012, the task force passed on information and tips to federal agencies that led to the government seizing almost $30 million. Yet the undercover unit laundered over $70 million for drug cartels—more than twice as much as what was actually taken off the streets.