The Miami Herald’s investigative series License to Launder, which uncovered a massive money-laundering operation by two police agencies, headed by the tiny Bal Harbour department, has been selected as a McClatchy President’s Award winner, the company announced Thursday.
The project, led by Miami Herald reporter Michael Sallah, in conjunction with videographer Emily Michot, reporter Antonio Maria Delgado, freelance journalist Joanna Zuckerman Bernstei, data visualization journalist Chris Alcantara and McClatchy’s Sohail Al-Jamea, focused on how a task force meant to take on drug cartels ended up laundering at least $71.5 million without making any arrests. The series set off a wave of investigations.
“The Miami Herald won for stories about two South Florida law enforcement agencies that set up a scheme to launder tens of millions of dollars from criminal enterprises without ever making arrests or even enforcing laws broken under their noses,” the company wrote in a release.
“It sounds like a crazy Florida crime novel, but it happens to be true,” the judges wrote.
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Delgado, a staffer with El Nuevo Herald, was also individually named a President’s Award winner for his coverage of the political tumult in Venezuela.
Every year, the McClatchy Company, which owns the Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald, recognizes the best work by its 29 newsrooms. Twelve President’s Awards went to journalists who uncovered wrongdoing, celebrated achievements through in-depth stories and told compelling stories.