New Mexico Anti-Money Laundering Alliance (NMAMLA)
In 2011, the NM Attorney General’s Office pursued grant funding through the Southwest Anti-Money Laundering Border Alliance (SWBAMLA), to establish a specialized money laundering team for investigative and prosecution purposes, units of which are based in Albuquerque and Las Cruces. Each unit is comprised of an Assistant Attorney General, Investigator and a Paralegal/Administrative Assistant. Additionally, the SWBAMLA provides a Criminal Analyst and Field Investigator to New Mexico, both of which are housed in the Albuquerque office.
In creating this team, the Attorney General’s Office, through the BVD, helped form the New Mexico Alliance to address money laundering throughout New Mexico. Other members include:
• Albuquerque Police Department
• New Mexico Taxation & Revenue Department
• U.S. Department of Homeland Security /Homeland Security Investigation
• Federal Bureau of Investigation
• U.S. Alcohol, tobacco, Firearms & Explosives
• NM Southwest Border High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA)
• New Mexico Sheriffs and Police Association
• Internal Revenue Service
• New Mexico State Police
• District Attorneys Association
• Region IV Drug Task Force
To date, the NMAMLA investigations include:
1.) Bulk cash transportation connected with drug trafficking
2.) Human trafficking cases related to trans-national criminal organizations TCO operations, including
both illegal entry and prostitution-related cases
3.) Firearms trafficking/value underreporting
4.) Organized retail crime operations
The SWBAMLA (http://www.swballiance.org/) was founded as the result of a Settlement Agreement reached between the Arizona Attorney General’s Office and Western Union Financial Services, Inc. In 2004, the Arizona Attorney General’s Office began data mining of Western Union wire transfers, and discovered that substantial sums of money were moving back and forth between Arizona and Mexico. These transfers were connected to drop- and stash-houses connected to human- and narco-trafficking operated by trans-national criminal organizations (TCOs). Between 2004 and 2006, these investigations led to the seizure of $20 Million, led to the arrests of hundreds of traffickers and smugglers and shut down 22 businesses connected with related money laundering. In 2010, a settlement was reached between the Arizona Attorney General’s Office and Western Union. One provision called for transfer of $50 Million to establish the Southwest Border Anti-Money Laundering Alliance.
The purpose of the Alliance is to enhance and better coordinate investigations and prosecutions of money laundering in the Southwest Border Area (SWBA), which is comprised of the four US border states (New Mexico, Arizona, California and Texas). The Alliance is governed through an Executive Board consisting of the Arizona Attorney General, the California Attorney General, the New Mexico Attorney General, the Texas Attorney General, the Director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the Superintendent of the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions, and the Chief of the Phoenix Police Department. The ultimate goals are to reduce money laundering and thereby reduce violence associated with smuggling organizations operating in the SWBA; to enhance coordination of the Alliance states’ anti-money laundering (AML) efforts; and to fund related training, information sharing, and related expenses in the Alliance states and in Mexico (collectively, the “SWBA AML Purposes”). To download applications for grant funding go to (http://www.swballiance.org/).