elp_banktellersFor a while now I have been giving you many examples of the nexus of drug trafficking and El Paso’s rampant corruption. In yesterday’s newspaper there was a story by Vic Kolenc titled; “El Paso branch is Wells Fargo’s busiest in the world”. Kolenc’s article adds another significant data point to my argument that the drug violence in Juárez was not about the Juárez plaza but rather the El Paso drug plaza.

Take a close look at the article and notice two important points. The first thing to notice is that of the 9,000 worldwide branches, three of the top ten branches with the most teller transactions are located in El Paso. In fact, the bank branch that handles the most teller transactions in the world is located in El Paso. The particular branch handles between 45,000 and 50,000 teller transactions per month.

FMSI, a teller management branch software provider has been publishing teller transaction reports for about 20 years. FMSI is uniquely capable of tracking teller transactions trends per banking branch because its software is used in many varied banking settings and is designed to optimize teller operations at the banks they provide services for.

According to its 2013 FMSI Teller Line Study, derived from over 17 million teller transactions the company tracked last year, the average branch monthly volume in teller transactions at credit unions and banks is down to 6,400. According to FMSI, the average branch monthly volume has been decreasing since 2009.

Now compare FMSI’s average of about 7,000 monthly teller transactions to those reported by the El Paso Wells Fargo branches and you would note the significant difference. The reason that teller transactions trends have been decreasing generally, except for El Paso, is that banking has moved away from teller driven transactions to those driven by technology. Although Kolenc’s article emphasizes the bank’s argument that the high volume of transactions is driven by a cash-based economy the article ignores the white elephant in the room that is drug trafficking.

Not all cash transactions are criminally driven however large cash transactions are generally criminally centric as cash is difficult to track and tax. Many in El Paso decry the low income economy of the city and although the Juárez economy may account for some of the cash transactions, these cannot account for the majority.

Taking this into account when looking at how one bank’s worldwide branches have three branches that account for the largest monthly transactions one must acknowledge that there is something fundamentally wrong.

Remember, as numerous court cases have documented, banks are used to launder crime-derived cash into usable cash. In fact, one of Wells Fargo recent bank acquisitions, Wachovia, recently admitted in court that it laundered money for drug cartels. Also remember the case of local attorney Marco Antonio Delgado and his recent conviction for using El Paso banks to launder drug proceeds for the cartels.

Add to that the numerous examples of police agency malfeasance that I have outlined herein numerous times, the fact the El Paso cannot keep its drug lab certified to test for drugs, the political climate that involves drug use and trafficking and the numerous public corruption permeating the city; it becomes obvious to me that there is only one nexus that can explain all of these; drug trafficking.

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...

One reply on “Another Example of the El Paso Drug Plaza”

  1. you are off a little bit on this. yes, there are many businesses in el paso that launder money through cash, but many of the reasons for cash transactions are the ridiculous wire fees mexican banks charge their customers. sometimes its as much a 3 percent. also their is the exchange from pesos to dollars that also account for it. they try to find the best deal from the exchange houses in juarez to get their money to us dollars, thus coming over and paying in cash.

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