MEXICO CITY - Police and Mexico’s federal anti-money laundering agency said Tuesday they have frozen 1,352 bank accounts that allegedly moved about $125 million on behalf of 14 crime gangs, including some of Mexico’s biggest drug cartels.
While Mexico City officials have long denied that cartels operate in the capital, they acknowledge that cartel members come and go. And the banks concentrated in the city apparently played a major role in laundering money for the gangs.
Mexico City police chief Omar Garcia Harfuch recently survived an assassination attempt by the Jalisco cartel, and he said Tuesday that some of the suspects and money found in recent raids were linked to that crime organization.
But Harfuch said there was “no evidence” that criminals demanding protection payments from businesses in downtown Mexico City in the name of the Jalisco cartel actually belong to that gang. He said independent criminals have been found to use the names of cartels to intimidate victims without actually belonging to them.
The series of raids and arrests since April netted 61 suspects involved in extortion, murder, robbery and other crimes.