Crime is the business of the courts – at least, one-half of it – but drug trafficking and money laundering, at least the kind known to be carried out by major operatives, is rarely pursued. Today in Belize City the Central American Integration System (SICA) hosted a one-week conference with judicial officials from Central America and the Dominican Republic to tackle the two subjects. Belize’s Chief Justice, Kenneth Benjamin, opened the summit.
Mr. Kenneth Benjamin- Chief Justice of Belize
“In the last few decades, trafficking in illicit drugs has become a plague in our societies in Latin America and the Caribbean. Belize has certainly not escaped this pestilence. Although each of our respective countries have deployed individual strategies to combat this state of affairs, there has been, if we wish to be frank, limited success. Indeed following at the heels of drug trafficking, have been the crimes associated with money laundering. The Judiciary in Belize has recognized the need for training in these areas of concern. Indeed, earlier this year, we addressed issues relating to confiscation of acids and gang crimes, all related to drug trafficking and money laundering. Therefore this training initiative by CAJC of SICA has started its reasonable training for 2013 is both relevant and timely”.
We spoke with Secretary General of SICA Stanley Herrera for his thoughts.
Stanley Herrera – Minister of Justice of El Salvador (Spanish)
“El lavado de dinero es una herramienta que utilizan los… el narcotrafico para hacer legal un dinero proveniente de operaciones ilegales…y eso lleva atado a que participen otras organizaciones…y es un delito penado por todas nuestras legislaciones de los paises de Centromerica, Latinoamerica, etcetera. Entonces, por ejemplo, en paises como el Triangulo Norte como Guatemala, Hoduras y El Salvador, el lavado de activos y el lavado de dinero involucra el tema de las pandillas y maras que se han convertido en instrumentos del crimen organizado”.
“Money laundering is a tool that drug traffickers utilize to turn legal, the monies that originate from illegal operations…and that takes other organizations tied up to participate…and that is a crime which is penalized by all of our legislations…of the countries of Central America, Latin America, etc. Then, for example in the countries of the Northern Triangle, which is composed of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, the laundering of actives and money laundering involves the theme of gangs or mobs that have become the instruments of organized crime”.
Facilitators for the event include representatives from Spain, Argentina, and El Salvador.