Chinese national sentenced to 14 years in U.S. for laundering money for Mexican drug traffickers

A Chinese-American man has been convicted of laundering money for Mexican drug dealers. A federal judge in Chicago sentenced the man to 14 years in prison, a U.S. judge announced Tuesday (April 27).

According to an immediate press release issued Tuesday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois, Gan Xianbing (pronounced XIANBING GAN) orchestrated the withdrawal of approximately $534,206 in drug proceeds in Chicago in 2018 and transferred it to multiple bank accounts in China, money that eventually went to Mexican drug traffickers.

What Gan did not know, however, was that the alleged money carrier who withdrew the drug proceeds in Chicago was an undercover agent.

Gan, 51, is a Chinese national who used Guadalajara, Mexico, to facilitate the money transfer operation, the press release said. U.S. authorities arrested him at Los Angeles International Airport in November 2018 while he was flying from Hong Kong to Mexico with a layover. He has been in the custody of U.S. authorities since then.

Last year (2020), a federal jury in Chicago found Gan guilty of three counts of money laundering and one count of operating an unlicensed money transfer business. U.S. District Judge Thomas M. Durkin handed down the verdict on Tuesday after a hearing in Chicago federal court.

The verdict was announced by U.S. Attorney John R. Lausch, Jr. of the Northern District of Illinois, Angie Salazar, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Chicago, and Tamera Cantu, acting special agent in charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sean JB Franzblau and Richard M. Rothblatt said in the government’s sentencing memorandum, “The defendants are part of a recent phenomenon – a relatively small Chinese currency. -A relatively small network of Chinese currency brokers based in Mexico has begun to dominate the international money laundering market.”

“Like the defendants, many of these brokers were engaged in a legitimate business and used that business as a cover to further their money laundering activities. The fact that the defendants never personally trafficked drugs is immaterial – drug trafficking and money laundering are two sides of the same evil coin.”

Over the years, the Chinese have become increasingly involved in drug trafficking, and they are now dominating the global money laundering business and chemical production. Both businesses are critical to cartel operations in Mexico, Colombia and elsewhere.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), agreements between drug cartel leaders and the heads of Chinese money laundering operations based in Mexico have cemented this partnership between them and provided fertile ground for the rapid expansion of Chinese money laundering networks.

In an interview with The Epoch Times last summer (2020), Derek Maltz, former director of DEA’s Special Operations Division, said that while traditional money laundering organizations charge about 8 percent for laundering large amounts of cash, Chinese money laundering networks undercut the competition, charging commissions as low as 1 percent or even no commission, thus becoming the industry’s “the best of the best.”

Maltz said, “They have built very sophisticated, trade-based money laundering schemes. Hundreds of millions of dollars are withdrawn and used to buy consumer goods in China. These consumer goods are then shipped to all of Central America, South America, and Latin America to launder the proceeds for Mexican drug traffickers.”

“Clearly, the Chinese are a greater threat to the United States, more sophisticated, more complex, and pose a threat to U.S. national security than even the Mexican cartels can match.” Maltz said.