The US has charged a Chinese “underground banking” network with aiding Mexico’s powerful Sinaloa cartel in money laundering and drug distribution. The Department of Justice (DoJ) has indicted 24 individuals, seizing $5 million in proceeds, firearms, and substantial amounts of cocaine, methamphetamine, and ecstasy. Highlighting collaboration with Mexican and Chinese authorities, the DoJ underscored a scheme where over $50 million in drug profits moved through Chinese underground money exchanges. These exchanges facilitated the transfer of illicit funds from the US to Mexico, catering to Chinese nationals seeking alternative banking methods due to Chinese government restrictions on currency movement. Beijing acknowledged cooperation, confirming the arrest of a suspect involved in illegal currency trading. Most suspects are set to appear in a Los Angeles court soon. The US has previously accused China of exacerbating its fentanyl crisis, which claimed over 70,000 American lives in 2022.

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