The haul is the second biggest cash seizure thought to be from drug cartels since 2006 [EPA]
The Mexican army has seized from a car more than $15.3m in cash, believed to belong to the country’s most wanted drug lord, Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman, officials have said.
Defence ministry spokesman General Ricardo Trevilla said on Tuesday that the find was made in a vehicle on November 18 during a “surprise operation” in the Cumbres de Juarez neighbourhood of Tijuana, in Baja California state.
He said the soldiers found $15.35m in cash, 3kg of cocaine, four weapons and jewellery inside the car.
The haul marked the second biggest cash seizure by the military since President Felipe Calderon sent the country’s
armed forces out to battle drug cartels in 2006.
About $26m was captured in September 2008 in Culiacan, the capital of Guzman’s home state of Sinaloa.
|Drugs Central Spotlight|
Total seizures made are only a tiny fraction of the $18bn to $39bn in estimated annual revenue generated by Mexican and Colombian drug traffickers.
Mexico’s biggest cash seizure to date was made by the attorney general’s office, when officials found more than $200m stuffed in the walls of a Mexico City mansion in 2007, which at the time was the world’s biggest ever seizure of drug money.
Guzman, Mexico’s most wanted man, is accused of running an empire of methamphetamine, marijuana and cocaine smuggling that has earned him a spot on Forbes magazine’s list of billionaires.
About 45,000 people have died in the conflict in the last five years and the government has captured or killed dozens of top-level drug smugglers.
But critics complain the operation has barely dented the finances of the cartel.