PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Three Portland residents were indicted in a complex international money laundering scheme involving Mexico and China, but they remain at large and are believed to be out of the country.
The indicted trio — Shefeng Su, Xinhua Li Yan and Xiancong Su — were all living in Portland at the time the indictment covers, US Attorney for Oregon Billy J. Williams said in a release.
The money laundering was used to cover up drug trafficking money and give Chinese nationals large sums of money to use in the US, authorities said.
Here’s how the US Attorney’s Office said the scheme worked:
Drug traffickers need to get large sums of cash from the US to Mexico, but Mexican regulations limit how much US cash can be deposited in Mexican banks. The drug traffickers work with money launderers to bundle and sell US dollars to convert them to pesos.
Chinese nationals living outside China — like Shefeng Su, Xinhua Li Yan and Xiancong Su — are legally allowed to transfer only $50,000 per year from Chinese banks to their location.
The alleged scheme helped ease the cash transfer between the drug traffickers and the Chinese nationals. The money launderers would ease the transfer of money between Chinese bank accounts — one held by the buyer and the other by the money launderer. When the Chinese currency was transferred between accounts, the money was sent back to Mexico — where it was converted into pesos for easier deposit in Mexican banks.
Authorities said this scheme was called The Chinese Underground Banking System.
The case remains under investigation by the DEA and is being prosecuted by the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon.