Colombia dismantles international money laundering network

Germany's Bundesbank sold more than 4.0 billion euros ($4.5 billion) in bonds with a yield of minus 0.05 percent (AFP Photo/Miguel Medina) (AFP/File)

Bogota (AFP) - Colombia dismantled an international money laundering network with the arrest of 13 suspects, including five flight attendants, prosecutors said.

"Among the 13 arrested people are five (Avianca Airlines) flight attendants and eight individuals who were engaged in transporting to Colombia dollars and euros illegally obtained from Spain, the United States, Mexico and elsewhere," prosecutors said in a statement.

The detainees will be tried for money laundering, illicit enrichment and criminal conspiracy.

The network was believed to be linked to drug trafficking because some of the detainees have connections to members of Mexico's Sinaloa drug cartel, Deputy Attorney General Jorge Fernando Perdomo said.

"The bills were carried on bodies or in suitcases with double bottoms," he told a news conference.

The arrests took place within the framework of an international joint investigation including the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, the Spanish military police force the Guardia Civil, Mexican and Colombian police forces and Avianca.

The investigation, which began a year ago, has resulted in 58 arrests on similar grounds, prosecutors said.

The latest targeted network laundered $5.4 million and 1.2 million euros ($1.3 million), the deputy prosecutor said.