Beloit Daily News on 27th February reported that one of Brazil’s top arms dealers has been charged in the US with illegally exporting firearms, accessories and ammunition, following an investigation by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, and other agencies. Frederik Barbieri, 36, was arrested at his home in Florida after police seized about 60 rifles that the Brazilian had sent to Rio de Janeiro’s international airport in May 2017. The weapons were said to be used by drug traffickers in Brazilian slums. The scheme led by Barbieri is reported to have lasted from May 2013 to June 2017. Barbieri also has US citizenship and Brazilian police say he has been living in Florida since 2010. Brazil’s Justice Ministry said in a statement that it has requested Barbieri’s extradition.
On 27th February, the Globe & Mail reported that structural changes are required to clamp down on the unregulated private lending networks that drug traffickers are using to launder their illicit gains, a Simon Fraser University criminologist says. A recent Globe and Mail investigation identified people connected to the local fentanyl trade who are also private lenders, using Vancouver-area real estate to clean their cash. It identified 12 private lenders associated with the illicit drug trade and other crimes. Neil Boyd, a criminology professor at SFU, said the complexity of these private lending networks and similar white-collar crimes make them notoriously hard to prosecute. The article explains that the problem area involves the individuals granting a loan, then register a land title charge against the borrower’s real estate equal to the value of the debt, plus interest. The charge, which gives them a stake in the real estate, remains in place until the debt is cleared. If the property is sold, the loan is paid out from the sale proceeds, in clean money, all seemingly legal – except these financiers are unregulated and unlicensed, and the loans they grant are in cash likely derived from drug deals or other crimes.