For more than a year, Orlando has been quietly playing a role in exposing a scheme to funnel millions of dollars in suspected drug money into U.S. banks, according to federal-court records.
In an effort to catch one of these money-laundering groups, agents created an undercover operation in Orlando and posed as associates of a Colombian drug-trafficking organization, records show.
It was through this undercover operation that agents engaged in multimillion-dollar dealings with Filemon Garcia Ayala, a suspected associate of the notorious Los Zetas cartel and president of Prodira Casa De Cambio, a currency-exchange business.
Now, federal prosecutors and Prodira's attorney are battling in Orlando over $2 million seized from an armored vehicle that Ayala and the undercover agent agreed to transfer. Ayala's attorney has stated that his client denies violating any laws.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced earlier this month that it designated Ayala and Prodira under the Kingpin Act, a measure that freezes their assets in the U.S.
The Treasury Department said Ayala leads a money-laundering network that makes large international transfers on behalf of Los Zetas, the powerful drug cartel.
Federal records show that during a two-year period, Ayala imported more than $130 million in American currency into the U.S. — averaging more than $1 million a week...
(click pic to continue reading)