Drug money couriers jailed for role in international gang "Two Manchester men helped run an international money laundering racket moving drugs worth more than £1m every month.
The gang travelled around the country collecting up to £160,000 in plastic carrier bags from criminal associates.
They used a method of money laundering called ‘cuckoo smurfing’ to hide it.
The scam centres on corrupt money bureau staff in foreign countries. When the parents of a foreign student make a money transfer to a relative in the UK the clean money is siphoned off to a bank account the criminals can access.
The bureau staff then send a text to the criminals tipping them off about the size of payment and to who it has been made. The criminals then go into a bank and pay dirty drugs money, which they have collected in Britain, into that account.
Undercover Serious Organised Crime Agency officers watched every move of such a racket run by a gang out of a house in Birmingham. The gang received texts from Dubai, Afghanistan and Iran with instructions on which student accounts money should be paid into.
The investigation led to the seizure of £600,000 and 20 kilos of heroin.
A coded ledger of the gang’s financial transactions was found at a house they used to store the money before it was banked."
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