What should happen to banks and bnsinesses that knowingly cater to the nearly $2 trillion dollars that are laundered through them annually from crimimal activities?

Newell Normand
Thursday, December 7th

What should happen to banks and bnsinesses that knowingly cater to the nearly $2 trillion dollars that are laundered through them annually from crimimal activities? Robert Mazur, author of the book, “The Infiltrator”, the true story of his undercover work against the Medellin cartel sheds light on this underworld activity.   

This Hours guest:
Robert Mazur - former Undercover Federal agent, Certified Expert in money laundering and N.Y. Times best selling author, " The infiltratior:  My Secret Life Inside the Dirty Banks Behind Pablo Escobar's Medellin Cartel"

00:28:04

Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

Good morning New Orleans on this very chilly morning one of the first winner morning's that we had of the year and are talking about possibly having some so noble book before the weekend let's remind everybody drives safely. We down here in the south we don't know about snow and we don't know about a ice and we don't know how to drive in either one of them so we need to be careful we got a great show today in the third hour we're going to be talking to Mike to to alienate. About the big game tonight against a dirty birds the saints and the Atlanta Falcons. In his second hour going to be talking to doctor Christopher de Carlo. About critical thinking and our ability to disagree. And there's an art to disagreeing and it starts one with respect. But in it in the first hour we have a great guest coming on. Robert mad man's Mays or excusing. Who is a form undercover federal agent four he worked in the IRS went on to work for customs. And was the undercover agent that had led to one of the largest money laundering. Investigations. In this country. Against the Medellin cartel Pablo Escobar of Fabio Choi Don chip they and others. That were involved in that organization for many many years and we welcome Robert May soared to the show this morning welcome Robert. Well thank you very much for the invitation. It's I read the book. And I'll watch the movie. And I gotta tell you I don't know if you know this about me forty years of law enforcement recently retired. As the sheriff of a neighboring jurisdiction. Never did any undercover work myself. But always had. This deep a respect and reverence for those of view who did and the work that you did in this case was absolutely phenomenal. Well thank you very much and you know it is a journey that. Some law enforcement officers take that they've really need to be prepared for and I was blessed with leadership in. The agency at the time. That they had the forethought of putting together a long term undercover school. And I got the opportunity to hasn't. Insight from former long term undercover agents the likes of which included Jokester element. Former FBI agent that the book and a movie Donnie Brasco is based on you know I've become friends. But I first met him when he came into class and and and shared his insights with but there are also psychologist and trainers that are involved in the process and. Had I not gotten the advantage of that. It could very likely. Have. Got down a slippery slope that unfortunately. Some officers have. Have. Just across the board really totally prepared and and this success of that and the success of the case. That really is on the shoulders of the people that built this story and that's 250. So law enforcement officers that topic keep me in my partner alive. As we traveled around the world putting his case. You know if you if it was interesting in the book and both in the movies that there were many points where it you've faced. Dilemmas. And you get emotionally involved in the case emotionally involved and it into relationships. That you develop thank obviously. To an end right that you're looking to accomplish. But at different times. Both the new book and in the movie I think it that are appropriately express is this dilemma where you befriend these folks in and you realize that although there engage in horrible behavior. There are families like everybody else at some point it's in then in the movie they really express that very well. Yeah I think Bryan Cranston now focused on that right and then in the very beginning has preparations spent a lot of time with many. Spent a lot of time with my wife and then upon a time talking about my kids. All of whom were. Very much affected by this this whole. Experience and you know that is again part of that the training aspect we we confront the issues. But Stockholm syndrome and other issues that psychological issues. That naturally come up boy and two individuals. Sitting in Tokyo and has a law enforcement officer you know what it what it is like to have a responsibility. To give officers the latitude to completely immerse themselves to when he forced seven. Into an underworld and you've got to make sure that those officers are trained grounded and it and prepared for this because we're human beings and and when we begin to have contact in and I think probably what. What. Meant after the fact probably well let's listen and it really stuck in my mind it. The impact that I had on the innocent failing members these people slide their bad guys and you know why I built it. I dealt with people who ordered a lot of people be killed. They want to guys pulled the trigger but they were certainly the people most responsible. Footers text to be carried out make they carry themselves were in the cartel. Unfortunately the way we would probably don't perceive a fortune 500 corporate off. Corporate officer everything was based upon. Risk management everything was based upon. Cost of product costs of transportation. It was a business. Two of them. And they were people who. Sometimes you could lose the astronaut thought it was somebody sat there watched. Just should somebody you're just dealing with people and kind of deal with a from the distance and sometimes that becomes a little bit. Cloudy if you're not really well prepared Ford. I think that the movie. Get a pretty good job on helping people to understand. That in and after these guys were arrested. I became a part of the debriefing team which is an unusual. Thing to do because those guys are dealing with the same emotions. David they dealt with me and they army or perceived me to be a part of they're world. All their family I mean yeah. Yeah in fact many times they referred you respectfully. Yes and they did and and you know and and I told in the same things and as I told before you know and generally. It's started off with no it's to the piercing stares. And and an emotional reactions and I said you know what can. I was just doing my job and I can continue to do my job now. And I'm gonna get you the benefit and the opportunity that everybody is sitting in the carrier and now has had the force that is if you wanna provide substantial assistance. You have to control. To be able to do things. They try to minimize the impact that this is having you know I'm not gonna lie for you and that's. It's gonna have to be complete and 100%. Total cooperation. And is if you do that and he has the same opportunity nobody else says I'm not taking it personal this is professional. And and in many cases. They did go on do cooperate you know I think a lot of law enforcement officers. Wind up with the circumstances I know it did throughout my career where. Individuals who I was involved in helping to prosecute not just under cover but working them. Traditional tight techniques in cases. Later decided to cooperate later became control sources. There's just a necessary evil in order for law enforcement to be able to do their jobs. You know robber one of the things that really stuck out for me and although I know you're saying that you were prepared but I think in the book as well as a movie many times they talked about many instances are present in many instances where you you really war prepared. But it was your ability. You're emotional intelligence I think the ability to manage your own emotions and emotions about this in certain things that you had to do on the fly. That's saved your life. Well yeah you know no doubt a bit we're cups of. So we can't do things the way bad guys do demand and when you've got a case that has not just national and international impacting your dealing with so many different. And offices. There were eight or so different offices within my own agency but then. You know. There were two or three other federal agencies that were involved and or foreign. Law enforcement offices that were involved in. Blend there's no real unfortunately. There's no national roadmap for the right thing to be done in all the various cities and. At times people did get in what is there are parts they thought that it was them the best thing to do. With respect to their responsibilities. And I'm thinking particularly now about certain very aggressive surveillance is that we're done. Strike came back from a trip terrorists and met with some very high a cartel members and had negotiated. The laundering of about a hundred million dollars. That was to be put into an at stake for them. Robert Lou if we could stop there we got to take a break we're talking in the Robert Mays or who is the undercover agent that help. Take down a significant portion of the Medellin cartel Pablo Escobar and I'm wondering money laundering thing that even involve. Manuel Noriega the Panamanian banks BCCI. Across the country. An incredible book called the in full trader and there's a movie will be back talking to Robert right after the break this is no rule Norman and debit WL. We're back we're talking to Robert May sir who is a former undercover federal agent with customs as well as work with the IRS for a while and was part of an undercover operation that dealt with money laundering. So around all around the Medellin cartel and Robert like I gotta tell you you know there were parts of the movie as many years is that I served in law enforcement and in the book quite frankly. And I would recommend everybody to read the pocket you know I don't watch a lot of cop movies are cut in read a lot of cup books that. I got interested in this one I'm very happy to get Joseph on the show today great read. Where I was actually nervous for you and and now is known I knew what the outcome was right. I was actually nervous for you dear reading the book as well as parts in time in a movie. There was a scene in the movie actually yell or outside in on a patio and then the liner of of the briefcase fell down where you could see the recording device and you know it was it was just one of those moments where as like who you know can I can't say it on air but you know don't talk about. Yeah I do and and it was a slight dramatization of the other real event. And it came at a very very. Delicate time. You do and you mentioned before about the fact that you know in in some senses. I guess my reaction and or my evaluation of things in the course of action that I took. Tape I like it could easily. Gotten me killed as well but I I was so close to these people that I thought that I. Really knew them well enough to be able to make. That calculated risk. We were talking before the break about having been in France and negotiating. 100 million dollars in money laundering. Events and now and that translates into picking up millions of ten million dollars at a time on the streets many major cities. In the United States including oral and there. That money cumulative weight list total hundred million is going to be. Any. Kind of a safety net for the many cartel and leadership and public support in the event they had to go on the run. So. As we began to receive the money and especially in New York. The people in charge in New York felt. That it was real important for them you have intensive surveillance. On the bad guys who were dropping all the cash. In theory that they were gonna follow these guys away and figure out. Where they are staying more than money breasts of the money is being collected and counted and that type thing well you know in theory that kind of works okay. But when you're dealing at this level. You've got to be prepared. Four and accept the fact. That these guys sport opinion. So expect the worst and IE. Was very very scared about surveillance because they had or the cartel authority warned me they said listen you know well we do this we've looked out we look for guys. And this is what we looked for and in this state describe them close by the whole thing. And then you know that was probably three quarters of the surveillance schemes and New York. But what they did is they had so many guys out there that the counter surveillance by the bad guys. Identified virtually every federal agent on the street. And then. The first reaction by very bad guy you know how to cut. Four year do you or your listeners to. Follow Arco's. At the end of the first year. The last two episodes. My head among Qaeda in America by Fernando valley. Are introduced and they are they principal managers the routes of Pablo escobar's. Enemy cartel. Those guys in port my principal. And they. They have their camera surveillance identifying. Our surveillance caused her broker cut to immediately say well. So blasted the the DEA and recovery. And I asked for a meeting. Which guys. It was to be with one person was very trusted member of the organization who report directly to cut. And I did act this mean Miami had declined contact agent there in Miami to please. Let's not as surveillance because if you guys are on me and they see that. Commented. And date agreed that we had. Communication cellphones. This is a long time ago at a deeper. But cellphone read it I can make calls we have code. The people would know an old wire how I was doing in his room I was going to. But they prom date they promised me they would stay back and needed. Aren't actually got to get to a break can we pick this up when we return. We'll be right back we wanna hear from you 260187. Me give us a call this Noual Norman on Davida Leo. We're back we're talking a Robert Mays or who was an undercover federal agent with the customs when you went on undercover in. Work through a money laundering. Operations. For quite appear to Tom and I think Robert you were talking about you finally got his breakthrough. To me with one of the representatives and on account and it was seconds aloe more. No that was. Rudolph I'm Bret. Yes it. His father was from Germany. Afterward Tuesday. He migrated in Colombia is mum this Colombian. And Hewitt said basically in charge of acquiring. The air force been used by committee curtail. Former pilot. Blew everything from 740 sevens do whatever else was out there. But damned sight that we put our practice and I'm I met with him alone in an area. In a tale. And I not a nice section of town in the Miami and what I got in there I'd left the briefcase that they had the recorder and my car. Purposely because frankly I didn't know for sure that it would only be in there I thought that it is very likely to cost to see if I had a record. So like guy and sure it was only reading and I was supposed to bring him some bank records or corporate records and eventually settled you know they have those records form and left commitment briefcase outside going it get and I got the brief cases through commented. And continue the conversation and he kept glancing. About every five seconds over at that briefcase. Which was really getting me concerns. A kind of sends tingles get a jump on and try to take it apart. But eventually I got it for enemy is sitting across from me so I opened it. Penalties so the back of the briefcase and as I opened its. There's a velcro. Mechanism that hides it compartment. It's let loose. Recorder and an investor wires fell into the briefcase. And I was the only wanted to see it likely to make a lot of noise when it hit and around but he was getting impatient to get the records so. I was trying to be as common as I could as is putting this thing back together again. Saying I guess in other records here find them and I got it back together again probably split second before he would come around. To. Look into the briefcase. And and gave the records say he needed in it's portrayed slightly different in the film but that's how it really went down. Have to then ultimately. Talked them into. Not. Continuing to embrace that idea is that DEA undercover agent and one of the things I was always taught well when I went through training. Was that you know. Remember you've got to act. Welcome back you can and not let. Your instincts as a cup when it gets really tight used to ultimately your instincts. Take over and definitely use but make a decision. Think keep thinking like you are that person you're portraying yourself to be well you know a cup might have just gotten testy and said you know. Got into the big contention over who really. And it caused these problems and what problems were there and and accusing them having. Undercover agents and their organization but I. I took the position mentally and you know you and I you have tremendously important information to. Because somebody has a problem either it's a problem on your side or to problem on my side and either. If we I'd once we identify if it's on my side. I will eliminate the problem is exactly what I meant by and and it it we should not take another Nicole. In New York. Until we've got things figured out I just shut down a million dollar deal. A couple of million dollars deal. You actually did that a couple of times I think yeah. Yeah yeah you know you need to because in and you know there's always that they cast you off so there was a time that we were given an amount of money. You know this is getting counted by hand at war by small machine in people make mistakes. But on one occasion you know we were shorted. Fifty grand and that's not an easy mistake somebody can make. And so I had to really. Get in there say. Over that. And and then there are other times when the monies over that you'd need a volunteer companies over. We give too much anymore than what you know it was going to be so. Yeah this kind of delicate things said that came up during the course that it. So Robert let me ask you this. This strain on your family and I don't think a lot of people recognize that I mean you were gone long periods of time you had young kids and then. The lady that played juror your wife in the movie Juliet Aubrey I think she did a great job of of the dilemma. In the conflict. Any uncertainty of happened. You know her husband gone undercover enough that you had an opportunity actually retire and you passed on it. And in stayed in and in and decided you wanted to do. Into this investigation. All do it operated a wonderful job she spent a lot of time away. And I'm an interrupt you one more time to go and just tell listening audience about the movie real quick Bryan Cranston for breaking bad please view. Juliette are replace your wife olympiad the pockets please your aunt. John Leguizamo plays in mere Hoosier partner. In customs. And Diane Kruger place. You're fiance. In the undercover part is part of another customs agent she played in the movie Troy as well as national treasure for those of you don't remember that. I mean a list of people have played in this we were just incredible in the Acton was over the top. Brett played on Benjamin crowd labor bird oil can I yeah I mean I was. And EP had a heat that has kind of a premier role in the movie with really good as well. Yeah out you know on and I was able to get him access to. Some of the undercover videos and recordings and he really studied it and deeply. And I thought he knocked it out of the park with regard to his portrayal of them. Liberal Cano. But I think the whole movie was knocked out of the park tiger set I don't go to many cop movies this one I will watch again. Actually enjoyed it and we got to get to another break Robert can you stay with us we'll continue to talk will be right back we're talking to Robert Masur. Who was an undercover officer that with customs said. Took down part of the Medellin cartel give us a call if you have a question for our 260187. In this Noual Norman and every Dario. We're back you were talking to Robert Mays or who is the author of the book the in full traitor which is my secret life inside of the dirty banks behind Pablo escobar's Medellin cartel. Robert we've got grieve had a lot of calls and then and come in and are in a friend of yours Jose called and said he's listen and is said to tell you hello hello. OK Ali as safe from. And I DEA agent very different. Right right so anyway anyway I'll we got let's go to talk line this someone who wants us to question every lime wanna go to jail in new on disease what's going project. That ticket draw yeah I didn't even rubio it was. Oh really you know you can try to get movies where do you. Commenting. Then once you. Think that could happen like that they've seen that recording device probably related meeting. But the other and better about it to match you were as well. Speaking you're. Put it in the movie it's. Like you know. That these people would be him and you know these. People you know. Supply deadly and into people and it's. Gonna be huge topic. Due out so that. Oh would you like did you actually like you almost like in with some of these people when does it take you. So. Sure. But you know I I I told Brian Cranston I'm not a very good actor he left of that but I think it's true. In that you know if I was gonna be cast in a movie I can only play on in American. Mob connected money launder that states the beginning and but I think that. I also have a very difficult time making believe. That I'm truly different viewers I don't like you know like me you know. And so I get to know some of these people like that that the person that was portrayed by Benjamin Bratt. Herbert block you know you know I knew them yet that the drug dealer. And I knew I was there it was my focus from what I needed to to go about doing. But also because I spent so much time with him and stayed home I knew his wife. I knew his two daughters. I knew it three girlfriends I knew everything about him. And I got to note that there was a piece of him. That's you know he wasn't completely. Dark black terminated. And so and ultimately it was over. That I have any any hesitation pulling pulling the strings at the end on what's so effort that's what I was there for. But there is a bit of collateral damage TU. Emotionally. You know I probably felt that the strongest you know after the major trial. That occurred in the case it was one trial was six months long and it trial testified. I got on the stand in the middle of march and I got off to them in which you every single court date I was on that stage and for the three months. And where in the case is finally over. Everyone was convicted. And the word and including some very very high senior management people. Within international bank and the international bank that was laundering money for many many different types of people including terrorists. And other. But as I you know and as I contemplated because what happens is after it finished testifying. My family and I needed Il so we rented a little girl and we went to smoky mountains. And I didn't bring a phone I didn't have. My. I think that the deeper but I only check occasionally that if they're matches and. And finally get the word everybody in that convicted and I sat there and thought about it by myself by stream in North Carolina. That they these guys were doing the exact same thing I was doing it and go to prison for a good portion of their life. I on the other animal probably get some kind of an award here before they did and so I struggled a little bit with that but I think. What that boils down to his conscience. And I think it's good for government have conscience I think it's good for us not to find. Joy and happiness 100% of I was flat the tight side about letting people in the prison. Four for extended periods of time and been impacted and their family it is as close to them that was I think it would be optical. Or Robert I got to thank you so much for joining us on the show I mean this is really been privilege for me. And I highly recommend to the listening audience the in old trader. Which is a book about being behind. The Digg getting behind a dirty banks so Pablo escobar's Medellin cartel and congratulations you and a book and the movie thanks so much for joining us. Can have a great holiday season. We'll be right back after the break on debit every else. We're back then we just finished a conversation with doctor it would Robert Massa or who was an undercover customs agent and in. The books called the infiltrate or my secret life inside the dirty banks behind Pablo escobar's Medellin cartel. He wanted to see a good movie it's a say by the same name. The infiltrators coming up in the next hour we're going to be talking to doctor Christopher to Carlo lecturer at the University of Toronto and executive director of the critical. Thinking project he has a new book out six steps to better thinking. How to disagree. And get along. I know a lot of people that we should probably get that book to we'll talk to doctor to color when we return stay with this this is new alarm and on Debbie Debbie L.
READ MOREREAD LESS