With the advent of electronic methods for transferring cash, small denominations can be moved quickly outside the view of watchful law enforcement officials (ergo Drug dealer can text in a payment from the privacy of a bathroom stall).
Transactions can be traced but the transaction when removed from a public street corner becomes more difficult physically to monitor. How does a law enforcement agent get permission to monitor a bank account or cell phone account when they have not witnessed a potentially illegal transaction?
here is an example of how the process could become more electronic (click to enlarge)
The image shows that a Drug Addict can text a payment to a seemingly innocent source, that of someone selling a baseball card on an auction site. The Drug Dealer can utilize a courier to transfer the drugs to the addict.
Drug addict has now become the frontline money launderer. They must put small denominations into a bank account that can be transferred to Dealer.
Drug Dealer can aggregate the funds in a bank account, and then appear to make innocent purchases or expense payments through an online bill payment system wiring money via ACH. (In a future article, we’ll look at how identity theft becomes a related problem in this process.)
Law enforcement must find a way to track and monitor potential illegal activity without having the ability to see a transaction occurring on a street corner. The courier becomes the weekest link in the transaction. Children or minors have long been targeted for this type of role even since the age of prohibition of alcohol, and might be utilized even more heavily in a more electronic age.