News


DATE=5/18/98
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
NUMBER=2-232438
TITLE=MEXICO / DRUG ARRESTS
BYLINE=CINDY LAVANDEROS
DATELINE=MEXICO CITY
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 

INTRO:  THE MEXICAN GOVERNMENT SAYS IT IS COOPERATING FULLY WITH 
A U-S INVESTIGATION OF AN INTERNATIONAL MONEY-LAUNDERING RING 
INVOLVING BANKS AND A DRUG CARTEL BASED IN MEXICO -- THE BIGGEST 
CASE OF ITS KIND EVER LAUNCHED BY THE UNITED STATES.  MORE 
DETAILS NOW FROM CINDY LAVANDEROS IN MEXICO CITY.

TEXT:  ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL EDUARDO IBARROLA SAYS THE 
MEXICAN GOVERNMENT IS READY TO ASSIST THE UNITED STATES IN ITS 
MONEY-LAUNDERING INVESTIGATIONS, INVOLVING 12 MEXICAN BANKS AND 
THE JUAREZ DRUG CARTEL.

AT A NEWS CONFERENCE LATE MONDAY, MR. IBARROLA SAYS THE PROCESS 
INITIATED IN THE UNITED STATES, CALLED OPERATION CASABLANCA, 
SHOULD IN  NO  WAY BE VIEWED AS A JUDGMENT AGAINST THE MEXICAN 
BANKING SYSTEM.

           /// IBARROLA SPANISH ACT, IN AND UNDER ///

MR. IBARROLA BELIEVES THE UNDERCOVER INVESTIGATION COULD LEAD TO 
THE ARREST OF THOSE PEOPLE WHO HAVE CORRUPTED THE FINANCIAL 
INSTITUTIONS IN BOTH COUNTRIES.

ALTHOUGH THE THREE-YEAR INVESTIGATION INVOLVED MEXICAN BANKS, THE
MEXICAN GOVERNMENT WAS  NOT  INFORMED ABOUT IT IN ADVANCE.  MR. 
IBARROLA SAYS IT WAS IMPORTANT TO KEEP THE CASE SECRET, TO 
PROTECT THE LIVES OF AGENTS PARTICIPATING IN THE INVESTIGATION.

        /// SECOND IBARROLA SPANISH ACT, IN AND UNDER ///

HE ALSO POINTS OUT THE INVESTIGATION WAS CONDUCTED IN THE UNITED 
STATES, AND THE ARRESTS OF THE 22 MEXICAN OFFICIALS AND BANK 
EMPLOYEES OCCURRED IN THAT COUNTRY.

THE U-S TREASURY DEPARTMENT INDICATES THIS IS THE FIRST TIME 
MEXICAN BANKS AND BANK OFFICIALS HAVE BEEN DIRECTLY IMPLICATED IN
LAUNDERING MONEY FOR THE COUNTRY'S POWERFUL DRUG DEALERS.  
(SIGNED)

NEB/CH/WTW

18-May-98 11:30 PM EDT (0330 UTC)
NNNN

Source: Voice of America
.