A husband and wife in the US state of Kansas have each been sentenced to three years’ probation after pleading guilty to money laundering.

The couple smuggled cash from Mexico into the US and used this to buy corn seed that was then smuggled back over the border to Mexico where it was traded on legitimate markets.

Cash and cheques

The defendants admitted trade-based money laundering, in which George Enns received cash and cheques during trips to Mexico that he then deposited in an account at Plains State Bank.

He deposited at least US$1.6 million in cash and US$5.2 million in cheques, none of which was declared at the US border as it should have been.

The Kansas couple admitted they knew the money had been obtained illegally but claimed not to know the names of or do business with the people named on the cheques.

Commodity purchases

Funds in the Plains State Bank account were used to purchase genetically modified corn seed.

The seed was then shipped to the border, where the corn was transported into Mexico where it was then traded in legitimate markets.

George and Agatha Enns pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering conspiracy. George Enns was ordered to pay a money judgment of more than US$1.5 million.