Government

Episode 418: How The Government Set Up A Fake Bank To Launder Drug Money

Special agents celebrate their fake offshore bank with apple juice.

Special agents celebrate their fake offshore bank with apple juice. Bill Bruton hide caption

itoggle caption Bill Bruton

One day in the early 1990s, a man walked into the U.S. embassy in Ecuador. He said he had information somebody would want to hear — information on how to go after some of the most powerful drug traffickers in the world.

The man worked as a money changer. He said he was getting a lot of requests from traffickers who had a problem: They had so much cash that they didn't know what to do with it. They couldn't figure out how to launder their money.

What they needed was an offshore bank to help them. On today's show, we hear how two U.S. agents — one IRS, one DEA — created a fake offshore bank to catch drug traffickers.

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