Chasing Dirty Money To The City Of Angels

Calling Los Angeles "the center of drug-money laundering in the United States," federal authorities in five cities charged 50 people with illegally moving more than $500 million in drug profits through a vast network of banks and precious-metals companies centered on the West Coast. FBI officials say some of the people arrested are connected to the Patriarca organized-crime family.

According to the FBI, the suspects would disguise the ill-gotten nature of their money by purchasing jewelry importers or export-import companies in Los Angeles. Under the guise of legitimate financial transactions, the suspects would then wire drug money through the companies' accounts to banks in Rhode Island, South America, Switzerland, and elsewhere.

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