A Look Inside a Money Laundering Investigation


In The Infiltrator, Robert Mazur provides an encyclopedic account of his undercover work. Mazur spent years undercover infiltrating the criminal hierarchy of Colombia’s drug cartel, and the dirty bankers and businessmen willing to launder drug cash. His work led to the arrest of dozens of drug traffickers and money launders. It also led to the dismantling of BCCI, a large banking operation that seemed focused on dirty money.

The undercover operation concluded with a fake wedding that was attended by BCCI officers and drug dealers from around the world. The bank officers were all too willing to continue the banking relationship even after Mazur explicitly told them he was moving drug money from the United States to Columbia.

I was interested in the book to see if I could get a better sense of how criminals found targets for money laundering operations. Unfortunately, The Infiltrator provided little insight on how money laundering works. I was hoping for more. BCCI was all too willing to take big piles of cash and assist with money laundering.

I didn’t expect the book to be exceptionally well written or to have a strong narrative. It was written by a federal agent from his first hand experience. Most of the book reads like a police report, dictating the story in a very matter-of-fact manner.

Given the time-frame of the book, it pre-dates the current regulatory restrictions on Know-Your-Customer and predates the internet. That makes it feel very dated and very Miami Vice.