And why not? Let’s get on the gravy train. British Bank HSBC has apparently established that money-laundering for Mexican drug cartels (and terrorists) will now be considered a civil offense. According to the New York Times,
Federal and state authorities secured a record $1.92 billion payment from HSBC on Tuesday to settle charges that the banking giant transferred billions of dollars for nations under United States sanctions, enabled Mexican drug cartels to launder tainted money through the American financial system, and worked closely with Saudi Arabian banks linked to terrorist organizations.
So we are in the loop now. Our government is in the revenue stream and we seem to be on our way to taxing the drug economy without actually legalizing it. (If $1.92 billion sounds like a lot, it has been estimated that over the years in question HSBC handled hundreds of trillions of dollars; so this is just chump change, the cost of doing business.) The New York Times editorial board points out that we have yet to correct the basic problem with our banking system in “Too Big to Indict.”
In today’s ProJo, Bob Kerr reminds us that the lower-level drug dealers who can not significantly help the U.S. government balance its budget can count on some hard time in prison for engaging in what HSBC refers to as “mistakes.”
(More at the Providence Journal (12.11.12) on how drug money corrupted the Providence Police Force, “Drug Unit in Recovery.” It’s getting difficult to even keep up with this.)