Brazilian police bust gang for laundering Mexican cartel money

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazilian police said on Tuesday they broke up an organization that allegedly laundered 5.5 billion reais ($970 million) in money derived from selling cocaine to Mexican cartels and other markets.

Federal police said the gang laundered money earned by Brazilian traffickers who smuggled cocaine from Bolivia and Colombia to Central America by plane and on other routes including Europe.

The proceeds were laundered in Brazil by investing in real estate companies and the purchase of 240 luxury cars, a police investigator involved in the operation told Reuters.

Police seized 35 cars and 12 planes, including an Embraer Phenom executive jet worth 40 million reais. The operation involved search and seizure warrants in seven Brazilian states.

($1 = 5.6754 reais)

(Reporting by Ricardo Brito; Editing by Bill Berkrot)