Organized Crime

22 charged in Miami drug money laundering operation

Authorities say 22 people are being charged in an international money laundering case that funneled cash to drug trafficking cartels through Miami-based businesses.

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said Thursday the case is a joint investigation with federal Homeland Security Department officials. Authorities say the undercover operation involved about $1 million a month in drug money from throughout North America.

The charges are mostly against the illicit money couriers working for Colombian and Mexican cartels trying to get U.S. drug-profit dollars converted into pesos they can use. No business owners were charged but Rundle says they should be on notice when handling suspicious transactions.

The Miami-area businesses are mostly involved in the South American electronics export trade.

Authorities also seized about $1 million in cash during the investigation.