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Days before leaving office, previous government of Mexico released millions to drug cartels

A month before López Obrador won the presidential election in Mexico, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) released nearly 722 bank accounts linked to drug trafficking.

On June 4, 2018, an order that came from the top of the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit ( SHCP ), asked to unlock almost $18 million US dollars and $100 million pesos from the accounts of individuals and companies linked to the Sinaloa Cartel, the CJNG, and other criminal organizations.

That list included the family and operators of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, Rafael Caro Quintero and Juan José “El Azul” Esparragoza Moreno.

It all started on June 4, 2018 at 5:47 p.m., when a person entered Hermes, the system installed in some of the computers of the Financial Intelligence Unit ( FIU ) of the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP), he pressed a few keys and sent the request 110 / E / 564/2018.

The purpose of the letter addressed to the National Banking and Securities Commission (CNBV) was to comply with the instruction given that same day by Orlando Suárez López, the then head of the FIU: remove hundreds of people and companies from the Blocked Persons List whose bank accounts were frozen for exhibiting irregular behavior and solid indications that they were managing and laundering resources from illegal activities.

The list included hundreds of companies that have been identified for having participated in the diversion scheme of public resources known as the “Master Scam”, companies that have laundered money for the Juárez Cartel and have even participated in the sale of professional players from Mexican soccer to Europe; or signatures used by PRI governors to channel federal resources to their party’s electoral campaigns, reported the Aristegui Noticias news site.

“There was no way that Orlando Suárez López did not realize what he was requesting. The surnames of the most prominent heads of Mexican criminal organizations, whose violent dispute over the drug market has caused more than 200,000 deaths and 60,000 disappearances in a decade and a half, appeared on the list,” said the report.

Mexico’s government has long been believed to have connections with cartel leaders. Recently, the current President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, was seen meeting the mother of ‘El Chapo’ on an unannounced stop along a long stretch of dirt road where the President and Cartel leader’s mother exchange pleasantries and the President assured Chapo’s mother that he had received her letter.

Month’s before, El Chapo’s son was arrested by authorities, only to be released out of fear that the cartel would retaliate against the government and create violence.

López Obrador has announced that he has no plans to use force against cartels and his plan is to address organized crime with peace. His plan was announced as ‘hugs, not bullets’ to battle the cartels who have left tens-of-thousands of Mexicans dead.

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