Washed in Gold: The Story Behind the Biggest Money-Laundering Investigation in U.S. History

Ann Woolner, Author Simon & Schuster $24.5 (391p) ISBN 978-0-671-74194-5
La Mina (``the mine''), a Los Angeles-based money-laundering operation for the Medellin drug cartel, used phony sales receipts of nonexistent jewelry and gold to launder hundreds of millions of dollars per year for Colombian cocaine lords. Its elaborate network, stretching from L.A. to Manhattan's diamond district to a Panamanian bank, was broken after DEA agents in Atlanta launched Operation Polar Cap in 1987, a three-year undercover probe coordinated with the FBI, IRS and U.S. Customs despite rancorous interagency turf battles. Woolner, a Georgia journalist, has done an amazing job of reconstructing the investigation, sharply etching the players--informants, agents, prosecutors, drug traffickers. Mild-mannered DEA intelligence analyst Gail Shelby cracked the case open with the help of DEA's computer database in Washington, D.C. This fast-paced account reads like a crime thriller and would make an exciting movie. Photos. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/1994
Release date: 08/01/1994
Genre: Nonfiction
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