The FBI seized $2.3 million in cash reportedly belonging to a group linked to the hometown of imprisoned Sinaloa cartel kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán from a house near Disneyland, the agency said in a press released issued on Wednesday.
Federal agents and other law-enforcement officials uncovered the money in a raid on May 5.
The money is believed to belong to a group of drug traffickers and money launderers with ties to Culiacan, the capital of Mexico’s Sinaloa state, not far from where Guzmán was born.
The house — located in the 1200 block of West Katella Avenue in Anaheim, California — was one of several locations targeted by a two-year, multi-agency investigation. No one was arrested in connection with the raid on the home.
While the investigation has turned up a large amount of cash and drugs, no drugs were found at the Anaheim house.
However, agents believe it stored “large amounts of narcotics,” an FBI spokeswoman told the LA Times.
Houses like the one raided in Anaheim are frequently used by traffickers as way stations for drugs arriving in the US for distribution and for money collected from drug sales.
The proceeds from cartel drug sales in the US often stay in the country, distributed among members of the US branches of the distribution network. They face the most risk and much of the cash goes to them, Tom Wainwright, author of “Narconomics” and the former Economist reporter in Mexico City, told Business Insider earlier this year.
Cash usually makes its way back to Mexico and other points though bulk smuggling across the US border or through laundering.
“The epicentre for a lot of the money laundering for the Mexican cartels is Los Angeles,” Mike Vigil, the former director of international operations for the US Drug Enforcement Administration, told Business Insider earlier this year. An especially popular method is the resale in Mexico of clothes purchased in bulk in LA’s fashion district.
Those clothes, and other valuables like gold or diamonds, are “sold over there and all of a sudden, voilá, you go from US dollars to Mexican pesos,” Vigil said.
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