A very interesting article in LA Times which presents several ways money laundering is being done and can go undetected!
Much of that money still makes its way back into Mexico the old-fashioned way: in duffels stuffed into the trunks of cars. But Mexican drug traffickers are among the world’s most savvy entrepreneurs, and launderers have proved nimble in evading authorities’ efforts to catch them, adopting a host of new techniques to move the ill-gotten wealth.
For example, Mexican traffickers are taking advantage of blind spots in monitoring the nearly $400 billion of legal commerce between the two countries. The so-called trade-based laundering allows crime groups to disguise millions of dollars in tainted funds as ordinary merchandise — say, onions or precious metals, as they are trucked across the border.
In one case, the merchandise of choice was tons of polypropylene pellets used for making plastic. Exports of the product from the United States to Mexico appeared legitimate, but law enforcement officials say that by declaring a slightly inflated value, traders were able to hide an average of more than $1 million a month, until suspicious banks shut down the operation.
The inventive ploys even include gift cards, such as the kind you get your nephew for graduation. A drug-trafficking foot soldier simply loads up a prepaid card with dollars and walks across the border without having to declare sums over the usual $10,000 reporting requirement, thus carrying a car trunk’s worth of cargo in his wallet.
Detailed news link: here