Miami Suburb of Doral Became Money-Laundering Haven

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In a leafy office park in the suburbs west of Miami, undercover officers set up an elaborate sting inside the Sevilla Trading Corporation. Beyond the neatly furnished front office, a courier working for drug dealers carted in a shoe box stuffed with thousands in drug cash collected on street corners in cities across the U.S., USA Today reports. A police informant counted the cash in a back room, divided it, then delivered it to computer stores down the street in the first step toward turning the dollars into pesos and sending them to drug kingpins in Colombia. The investigation in Doral in 2002 was supposed to crack down on rampant laundering in the area and shut down the businesses taking in drug money. Just the opposite happened.

Internal police records show how drug groups turned Florida’s fastest-growing suburb into a money-laundering haven that has empowered the largest criminal organizations in the Americas to hide their illicit profits and dominate the narcotics trade. Twelve miles from the looming skyscrapers of downtown Miami, the criminal groups have moved millions of dollars though the little-known maze of office parks just blocks from the prestigious golf course that bears President Trump’s name. With the nation steeped in a heroin epidemic, the laundering has allowed the criminal groups smuggling the drug into the U.S. to get their money out of the country once the narcotics are sold. In a city that once hosted a famous golf tournament, the activities have perplexed local leaders. “Obviously, it’s not good for Florida. It’s not good for Doral,” said Mayor Juan Carlos Bermudez. “It’s not representative of the majority of the businesses we have here.”

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