But the cake shop wasn’t a drug front. Have you not read the story? Not only did the shop not generate any significant cash flow, but the couple also filed returns showing that it didn’t generate any significant cash flow. There is nothing in the article to suggest that they made any pretence that their earnings came from the cake shop.
If a drug front is for laundering the money that comes from a drug sale, then it needs to have high cashflow. Not high profits, necessarily; it can make a loss. But it needs a high turnover - in cash, not in credit cards or electronic transactions. That way, the cash generated from the illegal business can be concealed in the larger flow of cash generated by the busy-but-not-very-profitable front business.
It may be true that “everybody knows” that that shop over there that never does any trade is a drug front. But the police don’t raid it because they doubt that it’s a drug front, precisely because it never does any trade, and therefor wouldn’t be much use as a drug front.
Lord Feldon has it. If a business - particularly a retail business - never seem to do much trade, the parsimonious explanation for this is that it’s badly run. Perhaps it’s a small business that used to do better, but the owner has lost a bit of enthusiasm or energy, and things have slipped. As long as the business isn’t burdened with debt, and the owner’s circumstances don’t require him to draw a large income from it, such a business can often bumble on for years with mininal turnover.
Finally, I should add that if you do want to raid a business that you suspect is a drug front, you don’t turn up with sirens and guns and a batttering ram to break into the premises. What are you expecting to find there that will show it’s a drug front? You want to look at the accounts, and the bank records, and the filings, so those are what you chase. No guns or sirens or early-evening-news-friendly footage required. If a business is being examined in this way, it’s very unlikely that the neighbours are going to be aware of the fact.