Mexico finds links to over $1 billlion in cartel money

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican financial regulators said Tuesday they have frozen the bank accounts of 1,939 people and companies believed to be linked to movements of about $1.1 billion in Jalisco drug cartel money.

The country’s anti-money laundering agency said it worked with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to identify the 1,770 people and 167 companies caught up in the financial dragnet, dubbed "Operation Blue Agave." Blue agave is the cactus-like plant used to make tequila, which is the signature drink of Jalisco, the cartel's home state.

Mexico's Financial Intelligence Unit said the investigation involved “the main leaders, financial operators, relatives, businesses, lawyers and public servantes that used corruption to benefit the illegal activities of this organized crime group.”

The unit reported that thousands of suspect domestic transactions were detected, which moved the equivalent of about $666 million.

Dubious international transfers were found to have moved about $330 million, and another $137 million in suspect U.S. dollar cash transactions had been found. The money is believed linked to the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, a hyper-violent group that has fought its way to the forefront of the Mexican underworld.