Peruvian mining millionaires allegedly trafficking cocaine

U.S. authorities announced yesterday the seizure of more than $31 million supposedly connected to an international money-laundering scheme run by the owners of two gold mines in Peru.

According to the report, the drug trafficking organization that held money in nine American banks was operated by members of the Sanchez-Paredes family, proprietors of Minera Aurifera Santa Rosa SA (Comarsa), and CIA Minera San Simon (San Simon).

The money was spread out among various bank accounts, including institutions such as Bank of America, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase.

The Sanchez-Paredes family has been linked to drug trafficking for more than two decades in Peru, a major producer of coca plants and cocaine. But the family, whose business interests range from mining to show horses, has always denied any connections with drug trafficking.

The court papers filed this week in New York, however, show the funds in at least one of the U.S. account are tied to Comarsa, one of the gold mines run by the Sanchez-Paredes family, and they were drug-trafficking proceeds.