In City of Industry, California, the people behind a toy exporting company have been charged with laundering millions in narco-money: City of Industry toy company accused of laundering drug money.
Co-owners Jia "Gary" Hui Zhou and Dan "Daisy" Xin Li, and several of their associates at Woody Toys are accused of funneling about $6 million in suspected profits for Mexican and Columbian drug cartels since 2005:
Woody Toys was a piece in a sophisticated international financial scheme that converted U.S. dollars into pesos at a rate of millions of dollars each year, according to officials with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. One of the company’s Mexican customers told a confidential informant he was able to get cheap exchange rates by buying "narco-money," court papers allege.It's like something out of a movie. Giant bricks of cash wrapped in cellophane and all that. The story just needs something about stuffing the money into plush dolls to make it extra cinematic. More here: Woody Toy company owners, employees indicted in alleged drug money laundering scheme.
With tighter banking regulations both in the U.S. and overseas, drug cartels are increasingly looking for innovative ways to move their lucrative proceeds across borders, and legitimate businesses are lured into illicit schemes in tough economic times, said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge of ICE in Los Angeles.