Sun-Times: Casinos linked to money laundering, drugs

The Chicago Sun-Times reported in 2002 that casinos and currency exchanges are “favorite places for drug dealers” to launder profits from the drug trade. The April 8, 2002, article described a Chicago drug dealer’s trip to a Las Vegas casino.

Before entering the casino, the drug dealer likely obtained money orders from a currency exchange. The drug dealer used $103,000 in money orders to purchase stacks of poker chips that served as a form of untraceable currency and payment to another dealer for a future cocaine shipment.

The two drug dealers then cashed in their chips for cash, which they could claim they won playing craps or blackjack. The cocaine was later delivered to five cities including a Chicago street gang.

Rockford is in the midst of a cocaine and heroin epidemic that has packed the county jail to the point a federal lawsuit was filed to relieve overcrowding (see April 14 article “Drug epidemic plagues area”).

State Sen. Dave Syverson (R-34, Rockford) said he was confident a Rockford casino would not become a haven for money laundering or exacerbate Rockford’s drug use problems.

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