Texas Perfume Seller Convicted of Money Laundering for Drug Cartels Gets 20 Years

Posted on January 23, 2012


The Texas Tribune has an interesting story about a perfume distributor based in Texas who was found guilty and sentenced to 20 years in prison for laundering money for the Sinaloa drug cartel:

“Vikram Datta used his perfume business to remove the stench from Mexican drug cartel money, and now he will pay a steep price for his crimes,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. “Today’s sentence should make anyone think twice about getting into business with narcotics traffickers.”

Datta’s lawyers claim he was entrapped by other drug-laundering defendants, but prosecutors successfully argued that he was motivated by nothing but greed.

Datta was just one player in the vast Black Market Peso Exchange, a money-laundering scheme which smuggles drug money made in the U.S. back into Mexico or Colombia, where the money is exchanged for pesos at a discounted rate. The peso-exchange businesses then use the dollars to buy products in the U.S. and then ships them back into Mexico or Colombia for buyers there.

According to the Texas Tribune, the scheme was invented by Colombians and has been going on for over 30 years.

Posted in: Drug War, Texas