Chinese National Busted for Money Laundering on Behalf of Drug Cartels

A Chinese national was sentenced to five years in prison on September 29, 2020.

He was subsequently ordered to give up more than $4.2 million in drug proceeds that he laundered through a vast cocaine trafficking operation in the U.S.

The Department of Justice’s Office of Public Affairs listed all of the individuals involved in the sentencing of the individual in question, Xueyong Wu:

Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger for the Eastern District of Virginia; Special Agent in Charge Wendy C. Woolcock for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Special Operations Division; Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey T. Scott of DEA’s Louisville, Kentucky Field Division; Chief Jason Crosby of the Criminal Investigations Division of the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS); and Special Agent in Charge James Gibbons of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Chicago, Illinois made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Per court documents, Wu established ties with Latin American drug trafficking organizations to transport and launder their American-based drug revenues. A significant portion of this money was sent back to Mexico through an intricate web of international financial transactions. Wu ended up receiving a cut of the money moved in these transactions as payment for carrying out these laundering operations. The bulk of the money was made through the movement of cocaine or payment for cocaine that was realized within the Eastern District of Virginia.

Trial Attorneys Steve Sola and Kerry Blackburn of the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael P. Ben’Ary and David A. Peters were involved in the prosecution for this case.

Given how much policymakers prior to Trump have de-emphasized border security, foreign actors have exploited these vulnerabilities. Revisionist powers like China, which have strong inclinations of upsetting the current world order, will take advantage of any perceived weakness in the border to promote illicit activities that undermine the U.S.’s social cohesion. One of the most notable cases being the alarming inflow of fentanyl, originating from China, which is then transported through Mexico and all the way up to the U.S. The result has been one of the most devastating drug epidemics in recent memory.

Whether or not this is a coordinated activity is up for debate. Nevertheless, the U.S. should start taking border security more seriously. Thankfully, the Trump administration has brought some level-headedness into the mix and is making efforts to secure our border through the construction of a wall.