How cash from French carbon trading fraud funded Latin American drug cartels


French criminal investigators have established a financial link between the recent carbon trading fraud – the biggest crime of its kind France has ever seen – and Latin American cocaine cartels. In particular the money trail points to a connection between the massive fraud and the infamous Sinaloa Cartel, whose boss is the drugs baron Joaquín 'El Chapo' Guzmán. Fabrice Arfi reports.

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On May 1st, 2009, the Cerro de la Muerte or 'Summit of Death' in Costa Rica lived grimly up to its name. At around 11 a.m. on that day local authorities received an alert about a helicopter accident on the mountain. The following day the aircraft – a Bell Jet Ranger, registration number TI-BBT – was located in the middle of the forest, eight kilometres from the village of Villa Mills. Thanks to the inhospitable Central American jungle terrain, however, it took another day before rescuers could arrive at the crash site. It was in vain: the two occupants of the helicopter, pilot Edgar Arguedas Alfaro and a passenger called German Trejo Retamosa, were both already dead. But local police were nonetheless in for a major surprise: for in addition to the two men the helicopter was also carrying 396 kilos of cocaine.