Wednesday, September 30, 2015

South Carolina businesses used to launder billions to drug cartels, terrorists

Captain Andy Lewis is one of the guys the U.S. Army used to track and shut down terrorist bank accounts during the Afghan and Iraq wars. In 2010, Lewis offered to do the same thing here in South Carolina, but this time he was tracking the illicit money being shipped out of the state through Money Services, or money transfer businesses – places like Western Union, Money Gram, and Vigo. Why South Carolina? We're the last state in the country that does not regulate this industry. Every other state has an agency with the power to license, investigate, fine and close down Money Service Businesses.

“It's not just one thing,” says Lewis. “It's not just narcotics. It's the ability to move money, drugs, people, weapons, anything. The infrastructure is here in South Carolina, and the bad guys can move anything pretty much at will.”

Captain Lewis presented a year's worth of research and tracking to our local state delegation, the state's Solicitors, Police Chiefs, Sheriff's Association. The numbers were staggering.

The report showed there are more than 3,000 money transfer service businesses operating in Horry and Georgetown Counties alone. Fewer than 10 percent are registered with the state. Those businesses wired nearly $700 million dollars a year just out of Horry County to a handful of known cartel addresses in Mexico and Columbia, and to locations operated by Hezbollah and other known terrorist groups in the Middle East., Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

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