It is said to be Florida’s fastest growing suburb, adding residents to its sun-soaked streets faster than any other in the state. Just a two-hour drive southeast of Fort Myers, the booming town of Doral is known for growth, warmth and a bustling money-laundering industry fueled by illicit gains from the drug trade, a recent article in USA Today states.
According to law enforcement officials, the money moving through the town is generated by drug trafficking operations across Florida and the nation.
Other places that have seen spikes in money-laundering include Los Angeles and New York City, where the respective garment district and jewelry business provide ample opportunities for drug cartels to “clean” their profits. The export shops in the area west of Miami provide similar opportunities, according to the USA Today article.
Though officials have tried to crack down on the laundering, including most recently in 2012, cops and prosecutors have come up empty: no stores were shuttered and no business owners were arrested.
Former Drug Enforcement Administration agents say hundreds of millions of dollars have been laundered through hundreds of exporters in the area over the past decade.
The city’s mayor says of the illegal activity: “It’s not good for Florida. It’s not good for Doral.”
Some say Doral’s location — right next to the nation’s largest cargo hub (Miami International Airport and surrounding warehouses) serving Latin America — made it perfect for an explosion of export shops and connections to drug-trafficking and money-laundering.
Law enforcement agencies promise to continue to carry out sting operations and other activities to try to stop the drug trade. In some cases, those operations involve illegal search and seizures that violate suspects’ rights.
An experienced criminal defense attorney will talk to you about the details of your case and advise you of your best legal options.