This is kind of interesting. Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard has said that the 1st and 4th Amendments are null and void and should not be applied when they interfere with the government investigating drug smuggling and money laundering in Arizona.
As a result of this Western Union is being forced to create a jobs program for cops. Western Union will pay the cops to search and shake down Western Union customers who are suspected of drug smuggling, money laundering or smuggling illegal aliens into the USA.
I suspect the reason Western Union is agreeing to let the government flush it's Constitutional rights down the toilet is because it will be too expensive to sue the government and force them to honor the right given to us by the Bill of Rights.
So I guess in really we don't have any rights if we can't afford to force the government to honor the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
So with that in mind most Americans are no better off living in USA then they would be if they lived in the Soviet Union, Red China, Cuba, or Saudi Arabia or some other county run by police state government tyrants.
Western Union to allow states to track cartel payments
by Sean Holstege - Feb. 12, 2010 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic
Arizona has reached a legal settlement with Western Union Co. that will allow authorities in all four states along the Mexican border to sift and seize electronic-wire payments suspected of going to drug- and human-smuggling cartels in Mexico.
Under the terms of the settlement, announced Thursday by the Arizona Attorney General's Office, the state will create a first-of-its-kind border task force aimed at combating cartel money laundering.
Western Union agreed to grant investigators in Arizona, California, Texas and New Mexico "unprecedented" access to records of electronic payments to Mexico, Attorney General Terry Goddard said.
The money-transfer company also agreed to spend $94 million to improve border enforcement, reimburse Arizona for investigative and legal costs, and improve the company's own internal-security measures.
The settlement ends years of legal wrangling between Goddard's office and the world's largest money remitter. It is the largest money-laundering settlement ever reached in Arizona and one of the biggest of any kind in the state's history, Goddard's office said.
Goddard heralded the agreement as a victory in the state's battle to clamp down on the smuggling of humans and drugs across the border with Mexico. It enables prosecutors in the four states to sift through and seize illegal wire payments, after receiving court permission.
"The most effective way to dismantle the cartels is to disrupt the flow of funds," Goddard said.
Jack Harris, public-safety manager for Phoenix, which will participate in the task force, said the settlement will lead to a significant decline in the number of violent drophouse kidnappings and home-invasion cases.
For much of the past decade, smugglers of illegal immigrants collected payments for their services at Western Union outlets in Arizona, state investigators found. Relatives of the immigrants would wire money directly from other states to the stores, and smugglers would pick up the money. The smuggling rings then would release border crossers from drophouses, typically in the Phoenix area.
Investigators reported in court affidavits that smuggling rings collected as much as $500 million a year from Western Union payments to Arizona at the peak. Overall, human smugglers, or coyotes, made $2.5 billion a year in Arizona, investigators testified.
State investigators managed to stop that flow of money by monitoring patterns of wire transfers and making arrests. But smuggling rings shifted tactics. In recent years, the payments were wired to Western Union outlets in Mexican border towns, a practice that investigators proved by analyzing sample transactions the state obtained from a previous legal action.
State investigators wanted to replicate their Arizona investigation and shut off those payments, including ones to notorious Sonoran smuggling havens such as Caborca and Altar. Last summer, U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials met with Goddard to explore ways to copy Arizona's tactics nationally.
Colorado-based Western Union challenged Goddard's authority to delve into wire payments from other U.S. states directly to Mexico. The company argued that Arizona had violated the privacy of Western Union customers and had overstepped its search-and-seizure authority.
Arizona countered that it had jurisdiction because the wire transfers were payment for crimes committed inside Arizona.
Under the terns of the settlement, Western Union will spend:
• $50 million to create the Southwest Border Anti-Money Laundering Alliance. The task force will be run by the attorneys general of Arizona, California, Texas and New Mexico, plus the Arizona Department of Public Safety, Department of Financial Institutions and the Phoenix Police Department. The money will go toward investigations focused on international money-laundering rings with ties to violent organizations and gunrunning. Federal agencies will advise and cooperate with the new task force, based in Phoenix, but won't initially be full members.
• $21 million to reimburse Arizona for a decadelong investigation and legal costs from the Western Union lawsuits. The money will pay for investigations of money launderers and smugglers in Arizona and will be split among the three agencies that have led the ongoing laundering investigations: the Attorney General's Office, Phoenix police and the DPS.
• $19 million to improve Western Union's internal-security measures to combat money laundering. Arizona has prosecuted some Western Union employees and store-franchise holders as corrupt conspirators in money-laundering cases. A Scottsdale man who owned two Valley Western Union stores agreed to pay $4.2 million in civil fines. Western Union's chief compliance officer, Joseph Cache, said the money will be used to monitor franchisees, research suspicious-transaction patterns and share findings with investigators.
• $4 million for an independent monitor, appointed by the Maricopa County Superior Court, to scrutinize Western Union's anti-money-laundering efforts for anywhere from 29 to 41 months.
In addition, four remaining civil cases were dismissed.
Both Western Union and state authorities said they are confident that innocent customers' privacy won't be violated by investigators' ability to sift through and seize money transfers. Any seizures will need to be approved by a judge.
Investigators say they are under no illusions.
"This will not end money laundering. I'm still concerned about stored-value instruments (such as gift cards) . . . and the old-fashioned method of taking bulk cash and driving it across the border," Goddard said.
He and investigators noted that cartels adapted quickly when they cut off previous sources of money. In addition to moving the money-wire payments, smugglers also stepped up bulk-cash shipments south and began using gift cards and quickly-closed bank accounts to launder their money.
He and Cache both touted the significance of all four border states teaming up.
"We put the money up because we wanted to see a borderwide solution," Cache said. "We wanted a complete solution."
Western Union worried that by settling with Arizona and not tightening security throughout the border, the problem would only be pushed somewhere else and the company would have wasted the money it spent to settle its legal disputes.
"It's been a dream of mine for many years to get California, Texas and New Mexico to join us," Goddard said.
Goddard said he will travel to Mexico next week to talk with that country's top prosecutors about how authorities south of the border can tighten the financial net around cartels.