This story was first published on June 19, 2007
Series of photographs circulating via email and online show millions of dollars in cash seized during a drug raid in Mexico.
The photographs are genuine and they do show cash seized during a Mexican drug raid in March 2007. The images have circulated for several years. Ironically, online criminals often use the images in their scam messages as bait for potential victims.
Subject: Drug money……
207 Million seized in Mexico…………Wonder what they did with all of it!
RAID ON DRUG DEALERS HOUSE
ARE YOU READY FOR THIS?
How many BMW’s could we buy?
The text that accompanies this series of photographs claims that the images depict $207 million found during a police raid at a drug-dealers residence in Mexico. Although the vast amount of cash shown in the images may seem almost unbelievable, the photographs are genuine. According to a March 2007 press release on the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) website, the horde of cash was indeed seized in Mexico:
MAR 20 — $207 million is the largest single drug cash seizure the world has ever seen. This is like law enforcement hitting the ultimate jackpot. But luck had nothing to do with this windfall. This record-setting feat was the result of tremendous police work by Mexican law enforcement in collaboration with DEA throughout the past year.
This money was seized from chemical brokers that were supplying chemicals to Mexican cartels to manufacture huge quantities of methamphetamine—most destined for the United States. The citizens of Mexico and America should be encouraged because seizing this criminal organization’s revenue not only operationally and financially disrupts that organization but also cuts off the supply of a vital ingredient needed to make methamphetamine.
According to a March 2007 International Herald Tribune article, 205.6 million of the stash was in U.S. dollars with the remainder in euros and pesos. The raid centred on a residence in Lomas de Chapultepec, a wealthy neighbourhood in Mexico City. As well as the cash, law enforcement agents also seized guns, luxury vehicles and drug-making equipment.
In a rather strange twist, advance fee scammers regular use the images in their scam messages as a way of enticing victims into participating in their nefarious schemes. For example, they may claim that the pictures depict a secret store of loot left by a deposed dictator and promise their victim a goodly share of the pictured millions in exchange for help getting it out of the country to safety. And one of the images was even featured in a version of the absurd money bags Feng Shui hoax.