Chinese national pleads guilty to money laundering for Mexican drug cartels in U.S. courtroom

Latin America

“MX” for Borderland Beat

A Chinese national pleaded guilty to laundering more than US$4 million in drug proceeds from a large-scale cocaine scheme in the United States yesterday. Xueyong Wu, 40, forged relationships with Latin American drug trafficking organizations and helped them launder their money in the U.S.
According to an indictment issued by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Xueyong Wu (also known by his alias “Antonio”) was involved in cocaine trafficking from 2015 to 2020. The conspiracy included players from Mexico, Colombia, Guatemala, Belize, China and the U.S.

He was also charged with money laundering, specifically with conducting financial transactions that purposely intended to disguise the illegal origin of the proceeds. His drug trafficking charges were dropped after Xueyong Wu agree to plea guilty to money laundering.
Much of this money was repatriated to Mexico through a complex series of international financial transactions. Wu received a percentage of the money involved in these transactions as compensation for organizing these laundering activities.  Much of this money was generated through movement of cocaine or payment for cocaine that took place within the Eastern District of Virginia.
Wu pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering, and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when sentenced on September 29. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
On January 17 of this year, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs held an annual domestic media briefing. At the meeting, Cui Aimin, Director of the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said would ensure that Chinese national arrested abroad receive humanitarian treatment and a fair trail. However, he emphasized that they would not protect the criminal acts done by Chinese citizens abroad.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said they strongly support other countries who seriously investigate Chinese national committing law violations abroad. They said they actively cooperate with domestic authorities to strengthen cross-border law enforcement and judicial cooperation to help combat illegal activities.

Xueyong Wu is not the first Chinese national to be linked to Mexican drug cartels. Zhenli Ye Gon was a Chinese-born businessman who worked in Mexico and was suspected of providing Chinese chemicals to Mexican drug cartels and being involved in money laundering since 2005, as reported by Borderland Beat. He is currently imprisoned in Mexico.

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