Stanford May Have Ties to Mexican Drug Cartel
FBI money laundering probe predated SEC swoop on financier
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2009 7:23 AM CST

(Newser) – Fugitive financier R. Allen Stanford was under investigation over possible ties to a Mexican drug cartel long before the SEC swooped in on his firm, federal authorities tell ABC News. The FBI and other agencies began probing Stanford on suspicion of money laundering a year ago, after Mexican authorities detained one of his private jets and found blank checks believed to be linked to the notorious Gulf cartel.

Stanford—whose whereabouts are unknown—may face charges of money laundering and bribery of foreign officials when and if he is found, in addition to charges stemming from his company's alleged $8 billion fraud. Authorities say Tuesday's SEC action against Stanford may complicate the federal drug investigation.