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DEA: Director of Guatemalan bank and former Guatemalan presidential candidate laundered drug money

By Gangsters Inc. Editors

Will a banker finally be held responsible for his financial crimes that led to a global recession? Nope. But as part of the War on Drugs, Alvaro Estuardo Cobar Bustamante, the director of a national Guatemalan bank, was arrested on Tuesday on a charge of money laundering. A similar case was made against Manuel Antonio Baldizon Mendez, a former candidate for president of Guatemala.

After multiple cooperating witnesses, who were prosecuted for narcotics trafficking, informed the FBI that Cobar Bustamante was involved in helping the traffickers to launder their drug proceeds, the feds initiated a sting operation to gather evidence of Bustamante’s money laundering activity.

In recorded conversations, Cobar Bustamante is alleged to have agreed to accept what was represented to be money earned from drug trafficking and to secretly move that money to the United States by using his position as the director of a national Guatemalan bank.

Financing a political career with drug money

Manuel Antonio Baldizon Mendez was prosecuted in a separate case that was unsealed Tuesday in the Southern District of Florida. According to court documents, Baldizon Mendez solicited money to fund his political campaigns as a campaign supporter and later as a presidential candidate. He accepted campaign contributions knowing they were being made by narcotics traffickers and were the proceeds of narcotics trafficking. Thereafter, he engaged in financial transactions, including the purchase of property in Miami, to hide the fact that he had knowingly accepted campaign contributions (money) from drug traffickers.

Baldizon Mendez previously pled guilty to money laundering and was sentenced to 50 months in prison. “Narcotics trafficking is a very serious crime that not only poisons our communities and the people who use drugs, but can also contaminate some of the highest levels of business and politics," said U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan. "Purportedly upstanding members of society who help narcotics traffickers wash their money are no better in the eyes of the law than the traffickers themselves. Money launderers and their conspirators will be treated with the same justice meted out to the traffickers.”

Operation Black Mass

The prosecution was part of Operation Black Mass, which is a result of the ongoing efforts by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The OCDETF mission is to identify, investigate, and prosecute high level members of drug trafficking and money laundering enterprises, bringing together the combined expertise and unique abilities of federal, state and local law enforcement.

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