Michel Marizco
May 23, 2011

The cartels make billions of dollars on the drug trade. But they have to work out complicated schemes to get those dollars they make from addicts in the United States back into Mexico and convert them into usable pesos.

It’s a lot of money. And money can overcome lots of challenges.

A recent investigation by U.S. authorities found that between 2004 and 2007, one large U.S. bank allowed nearly $500 billion of drug money to be wired through its systems, no questions asked.

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Many of the wire transfers ended up in Culiacán, Sinaloa, the place to go to cash out American greenbacks for pesos in Mexico’s organized crime capital. Experts describe it as a violent city along the Pacific Coast with a long history of drug trafficking.

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