Jan. 16, 2018

The United States depends on Latin American gold to feed insatiable demand from its jewelry, bullion and electronics industries. But much of the metal comes from outlaw operations controlled by gangsters who use gold to launder their profits from cocaine sales.

Located deep in the jungle, these mines use dangerous chemicals that poison the rainforest — and the miners who labor there.

Once extracted, the dirty gold enters a pipeline that flows directly through Miami.

How a $3.6b gold scheme went bust

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Using gold to launder drug dollars

The team

Reporters: Jay Weaver, Nicholas Nehamas, Jim Wyss, Kyra Gurney

Editors: Casey Frank, Amy Driscoll, Curtis Morgan, Eddie Alvarez and Orlando Mellado

Visual journalists: Aaron Albright, Justin Azpiazu, Pedro Portal, Jose Iglesias, Matias Ocner, Ayana Morali, Patrick Gleason, Jessica Gilbert and Juan Manuel Barrero Bueno (freelance)

Social media: Noel Gonzalez

Copy editing: Mary Behne