By Allan Lengel
American families of victims killed by “ruthless” Mexican drug cartels are suing the HSBC Holdings PLC, saying it “knowingly provided continuous and systematic material support to the cartels and their acts of terrorism by laundering billions of dollars for them.”
“As a proximate result of HSBC’s material support to the Mexican drug cartels, numerous lives, including those of the Plaintiffs, have been destroyed,” said the lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Brownsville, Tex.
HSBC said it plans to fight the allegations, according to Bloomberg News.
The lawsuit mentions some of the people who were killed by the cartel.
The lawsuit stated:
Victims Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila, Jr. were Special Agents for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”), a federal law enforcement agency under the Department of Homeland Security. On February 15, 2011, while on assignment transporting cargo to Mexico City, the two were attacked in broad daylight by two car loads of Los Zetas militants on a highway outside of the city of San Luis Potosí. While travelling in an armored vehicle displaying U.S. diplomatic plates, the agents were chased down, flanked, and forced off the road. Ignoring cries from the Special Agents that they were U.S. citizens and diplomats, the militants fired over 100 rounds from AK-47s and other military-grade weapons inside and at the vehicle, killing Special Agent Zapata and seriously wounding Special Agent Avila.
In another case, the lawsuit stated:
Victim Lesley Enriquez Redelfs was an employee of the U.S. Consulate Office in Ciudad Juárez, and her husband, victim Arthur Redelfs, was a detention officer for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department. On Saturday, March 13, 2010, Arthur, Lesley, and their sevenmonth-old daughter attended a children’s birthday party in Ciudad Juárez hosted by the U.S. Consulate Office. As they were leaving the birthday party in their SUV, they were followed and ambushed by members of an enforcement arm of the Juárez Cartel. Lesley, who was four months pregnant, was shot twice in the head. Arthur made a desperate dash for the American border as the Juárez Cartel enforcers chased the Redelfs through the streets, spraying their car with more bullets. Just before reaching the border, Arthur was gunned down. The Redelfs’ infant daughter was found screaming in the backseat. At the same time, other Juárez Cartel enforcers chased down and killed the spouse of another U.S. Consulate employee as he left the same birthday party with
his two young daughters, who were also wounded in the attack.
Bloomberg reports that HSBC, in 2012, paid $1.9 billion to resolve a criminal investigation into whether it violated U.S. sanctions laws and laundered at least $881 million on behalf of drug cartels.