Federal Police officials announced Wednesday that they had dismantled a major international cocaine and money laundering center in an ongoing investigation that began six years ago in Las Vegas and that involved more than 30 other countries.
The chief federal attorney and the FBI chief in Las Vegas told reporters that the investigation became public following the recent arrests of six people in Nevada, Arizona, California and Washington state on conspiracy, drug and money laundering allegations.
Acting US Attorney Christopher Chiou and Aaron Rouse, the special envoy for the Las Vegas office, were flanked by law enforcement officials in Australia, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Israel, Romania and the UK.
Rouse said the case was not due to a casino-related investigation.
The FBI chief said it was millions of dollars, but he didn’t want to give an amount.
He characterized the conspiracy as a “cog in a drug-and-money operation supporting” transnational “criminal organizations, which he said crippled by the six arrests and” dozen “others elsewhere during the six-year operation are called “Operation Money Maker”. Rouse declined to give exact numbers, locations, or details of these cases.
“Pull out the gear, the spokes will fall,” he said. “Your hub is gone.”
Chiou said two of the six people named on separate charges that were unsealed were Las Vegas residents. Others come from Los Angeles, Seattle, Phoenix, and San Jose, California.
The five men and one woman are between 31 and 51 years old. Everyone is being prosecuted in Las Vegas, Chiou said. Everyone is a US citizen and is charged with conspiracy.
Three of them face additional drug trafficking charges and four of the six face money laundering charges. Everyone faces decades of imprisonment if convicted.
Records of five cases were not immediately accessible in the US District Court’s public records.