Operation Green Ice and Operation Dinero


In Operation Green Ice, law enforcement from Italy, Colombia, the United Kingdom, Canada, Spain, Costa Rica, the Cayman Islands, and the United States co-operated together to expose the financial infrastructure of the Cali mafia. During the first phase of Operation Green Ice, over $50 million in cash and property were seized and almost 200 people were arrested world-wide, including seven of Cali's top money managers. In addition, valuable information was obtained when we gained access to financial books and records, as well as computer hard drives and discs containing financial transactions and bank account information. During the second phase of Green Ice, nearly 14, 000 pounds of cocaine, 16 pounds of heroin, almost $16 million in cash were seized, and over 40 people were arrested.

During Operation Dinero--a two-and-a-half year undercover investigation involving the DEA and the IRS, as well as law enforcement and police organisations in Italy, Spain, Canada, and the United Kingdom--we penetrated the drug money laundering networks and followed the money trails that led us to the top echelons of the Cali cocaine organisations. Through this investigation we further established direct links among the criminal organisations of the Italian Mafia and the Colombian cocaine Mafia. This was an historical operation also because it was the first time a law enforcement agency established a private bank--operated by undercover agents--as an investigative tool to gain insight into the seamy netherworld of drug money laundering.

The results of Operation Dinero made it an overwhelming success. Over $52 million and 9 tons of cocaine were seized, and 88 people were arrested world-wide. This was cocaine that did not end up on the streets of our cities. This is money that will not be used to further the production and distribution of more illegal drugs. And, these are criminals who will not continue to pursue the deadly cycle of drug-related crime and violence.

But the major result of both Operations Green Ice and Dinero was the message it sent to the drug Mafia’s-that the number of safe havens for their drug money is quickly dwindling. Law enforcement agencies will continue to use financial investigations like these two highly successful operations against traffickers and money launderers.

From a statement by: Special Agent Harold D. Wankel – DEA Chief of Operations, Drug Enforcement Administration, United States Department of Justice.

Before the: House Banking and Financial Committee.

Regarding: Money Laundering by Drug Trafficking Organisations.

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  Last updated, 15 June 2006, by

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