Ex-banker to change plea in Kansas drug cartel money case


WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A former bank president accused of conspiring to launder drug money for a Mexican cartel plans to enter a new plea.

A notice filed Thursday says former Plains State Bank President James Kirk Friend notified the court of his intention to change his plea. A hearing is scheduled Oct. 17 in U.S. District Court in Wichita.Prosecutors contend Friend helped bank customers George and Agatha Enns of Meade launder more than $6.8 million between 2011 and 2014.An affidavit outlines a federal investigation into drug trafficking and money laundering activities in the U.S. by the Juarez Cartel/La Linea, sometimes referred to as Mexican Mennonites.

The Mexican cartel is suspected of laundering drug proceeds through the small southwest Kansas bank to avoid tighter restrictions on U.S. currency in its home country.

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