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Nogales police cite new scam for drop in money laundering

PHOENIX -- An Arizona border town is reportedly seeing fewer cases of international money laundering thanks to a new scam operated by Mexican drug cartels.

According to the Nogales International, cartels are no longer trying to smuggle cash across the border. Instead, they are buying large amounts of clothes to transport and sell in Mexico, usually at higher prices than they paid in the United States.

"The cartels are smart. It's a business operation and they understand what to do and what not to do," [Nogales Police Department Chief Derek] Arnson said.

Arnson said $500,000 worth of clothes will pass through customs at the border with little problem.

The scam is not new. Cartels were reportedly using the idea as early as 2011.

A Nogales department store owner said he has not been approached about the scam by either law enforcement or the cartels.

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