More than $31 million from nine bank accounts has been seized in relation to an international money laundering scheme run by a Peruvian drug trafficking organization, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced last week.
A complaint filed last week in Manhattan federal court alleged that members of the Sanchez-Paredes family used the U.S. bank accounts of shell companies and other businesses to hide the family’s illegal cocaine proceeds. The funds in the U.S. bank accounts were seized and additional funds in three Peruvian bank accounts have been frozen by Peruvian law enforcement authorities.
“This organization worked as a family business and thought they would live comfortable lives based on cash earned from the sale of cocaine,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Brian Crowell. “Ruining lives for the sake of increasing bank accounts is not tolerated by our law enforcement partners worldwide.”
According to the complaint, the Peruvian National Prosecutor’s Office started investigating the Sanchez-Paredes family in the early 1980s. At least two members of the Sanchez-Paredes family were assassinated in the late 1980s and early 1990s due to their involvement in international narcotics trafficking.
Peruvian law enforcement officials believed that the Sanchez-Paredes family financed various businesses for the purpose of laundering millions of dollars in narcotics trafficking proceeds. Members of the family used multiple bank accounts to launder the proceeds from the family’s cocaine operation. The bank accounts were held by individual family members, companies owned and operated by the family members, employees of the family’s business and other companies thought to be involved in the money laundering activity.
“While this allegedly notorious drug trafficking family may be beyond our reach, the proceeds from their decade’s long money laundering scheme are not,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. “With this forfeiture complaint, we continue to take the profit out of crime by seizing $31 million that allegedly represents the proceeds from their international narco-trafficking.”