The Chicago drug dealers working for notorious Mexican gangster El Chapo had a big problem on their hands: What should they do with the millions of dollars in cash they earned from selling cocaine?
They bought gold. Tens of millions of dollars worth from pawnshops — rings, necklaces and watches. Then they had to find a place to fence it all.
More than a thousand miles away, in an industrial warehouse in South Florida, they found the perfect partner: an obscure gold-trading company called Golden Opportunities. El Chapo’s crew shipped the metal in dozens of FedEx deliveries to the Hallandale Beach company, according to federal court records.
The owners of Golden Opportunities, Jed and Natalie Ladin, may not have known they were working with Joaquín Guzmán Loera, better known as El Chapo — but between 2011 and 2014 his brutal Sinaloa cartel laundered nearly $100 million of cocaine cash through Golden Opportunities, court records show.
A drug cartel’s Midas touch
Mexico’s brutal Sinaloa cartel used a small South Florida gold business to launder nearly $100 million in cocaine profits. Here’s how they did it.
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