Thursday, February 12, 2015

32 accused in gold for cash scheme to launder Chapo's drug profits

Lucio, republished from  ICE and DOJ agencies, link here for a Spanish article

32 defendants face federal or state charges in Illinois alleging laundering more than $100 million in drug proceeds through cash-for-gold scheme

The  full 313  page indictment on second age of this post

CHICAGO — Thirty-one defendants face federal money laundering charges for their roles in a conspiracy that allegedly laundered more than $100 million in drug proceeds for the Mexico-based Sinaloa Cartel in a cash-for-gold scheme; one other defendant faces state money laundering charges in DuPage County, Illinois.

The federal charges, contained in a criminal complaint, stem from a multi-year money laundering and drug trafficking investigation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division; and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), together with other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

Agents this week seized 12 firearms while arresting 12 of the federal defendants. Ten of those defendants were arrested in the Chicago area; two were arrested in Kentucky and Georgia. Four federal defendants, including two of the alleged conspiracy leaders, were already in state or federal custody. Fifteen defendants are fugitives, and several may be in Mexico. Agents also arrested the defendant facing state charges.

Prior to this week’s arrests, in the course of the 3 ½-year investigation, agents seized more than $2.8 million in U.S. currency, 28 firearms, 42 kilograms of cocaine (92 pounds), more than two tons of marijuana, as well as large amounts of heroin and methamphetamine.

Thirty-one defendants were charged with conspiring to launder narcotics proceeds for the Sinaloa Cartel in a 311-page criminal complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court and unsealed Tuesday. The federal defendants arrested Feb. 10 in the Chicago area appeared Tuesday before Magistrate Judge Daniel Martin in U.S. District Court; eight remain in federal custody pending detention hearings scheduled for later this week.


Alleged conspiracy leaders Diego Pineda-Sanchez, 30, and Carlos Parra-Pedroza, 31, were arrested on related money laundering charges in September 2014 while visiting the United States from their native Guadalajara, Mexico. A federal grand jury charged both men by indictment in December 2014 with multiple counts of money laundering based on four of the 49 separate instances of money laundering noted in the complaint filed Monday. That case is currently before Judge Harry D. Leinenweber in U.S. District Court.

These charges were announced by U.S. Attorney Zachary T. Fardon, Northern District of Illinois; with Gary Hartwig, special agent in charge of HSI Chicago; James C. Lee, special agent in charge of IRS’s Criminal Investigation Division; and Carl J. Vasilko, special agent in charge of ATF in Chicago. The following agencies also provided significant assistance in this investigation: Drug Enforcement Administration; Cook County Sheriff’s Office; DuPage County Sheriff’s Office; Chicago Police Department; Buffalo Grove Police Department; the Joliet Metropolitan Area Narcotics Squad, and the U.S. Marshals Service. This investigation was conducted under the umbrella of the U.S. Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).

“The drug trade is driven by money earned at the expense of countless devastated lives and ravaged communities,” said U.S. Attorney Zachary T. Fardon. “These charges reflect the tireless work of federal, state and local authorities to stop not only those individuals who make that destructive business possible, but profitable.”


“Chicago is a hub for narcotics money laundering, with dirty money changing hands all too often in public parking lots throughout the city and suburbs,” said Hartwig. “Criminals are turning to sophisticated trade-based schemes to launder their money and cover their tracks. But these arrests should serve as a stern warning to those doing business with drug traffickers — you will ultimately pay the price.”
Lee added, “IRS Criminal Investigation is committed to fighting the war on drugs. IRS CI brings, and will continue to bring, its financial expertise to disrupt and dismantle the Sinaloa Cartel’s drug trafficking organization.”

The complaint alleges that Pineda-Sanchez, Parra-Pedroza, and 29 associates laundered more than $100 million in drug proceeds since 2011 for the Sinaloa Cartel. The defendants’ money laundering activities on behalf of the Sinaloa Cartel spanned throughout the Unites States, including; Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Georgia, California, Texas and North Carolina. Pineda-Sanchez and Parra-Pedroza are high-ranking Mexico-based money brokers who allegedly used a network of individuals in Chicago, Fort Lauderdale and Los Angeles to launder illicit drug proceeds through a gold-based scheme.

According to the complaint, Pineda-Sanchez, Parra-Pedroza and others routinely directed U.S.-based members of their organization to collect narcotics proceeds, then use this money to purchase scrap and fine gold from local businesses, and ship that gold to refineries based in Florida and California. The refineries in turn transmitted the cash value of the gold to Parra-Pedroza and other co-conspirators in Mexico.

As part of the undercover law enforcement operation, HSI Chicago collected more than $4.5 million in drug proceeds from 38 different money couriers on 49 occasions between June 2013 and August 2014.
The complaint details several instances in which Parra-Pedroza warned a confidential informant, who was working with law enforcement, of the dangers of losing drug money entrusted to the organization. In one such instance, Parra-Pedroza told the informant about unidentified Mexican associates who had coerced a man to accept responsibility for losing their drugs or money by “cut[ting] his fingers off.”

The money laundering complaint charges Pineda-Sanchez, Parra-Pedroza, and the following co-defendants with one count each of conspiring to commit money laundering:

    Jose Abel Mendoza-Parra, 22, Maria Loera-Alvarado, 36, Alma Lorena Ortiz de Rosas Vera, 38, Luis Armando Acosta-Vizcarra, 43, and Teodocio Caro, 54, of Mexico;
    Juan Carlos Nunez-Galvez, Gabriel Salcedo, 53, Jose Hernandez-Ochoa, 28, and Jose Sanantonio, 28, of Berwyn, Illinois;
    Mario Herrera, Pedro Saucedo-Palominos, 42, Casmiro Isias-Padilla, 37, Efren Mota, 48, Tomas Salgado-Reyna, 30, Federico Barrera-Perez, 45, Omar Lopez-Cabrera, 32, and Joel Estrada, 27, of Chicago;

  • ·         Luis Reyna-Tellez, 19, and Hector Chavez-Cuevas, 36, of Cicero, Illinois;
  • ·         Ernesto Ruiz-Ramirez, 25, of Joliet, Illinois;
  • ·         Valentin Rodriguez, 37, of Markham, Illinois;
  • ·         Harranah Samori, 42, of Matteson, Illinois;
  • ·         Oscar Acosta, 36, Melrose Park, Illinois;
  • ·         Emmanuel Diaz, 28, of Naperville, Illinois; Anthony Leiva, 53;
  • ·         Alfonso Nevarez, 40, of Northlake, Illinois;
  • ·         Felix Lemus-Guevara, 29, of Georgia;
  • ·         Virgil Durbin, 47, of Kentucky;
  • ·         Pedro Urquiza-Osorio, 53, of Texas; and
  • ·         Oscar Montes-Lamas (deceased).

Jaime Cabadas-Barajas, 30, of Chicago, faces one count of state money laundering charges in DuPage County.

If convicted, the defendants charged with federal money laundering face a maximum of 20 years’ imprisonment and a $500,000 fine or twice the gross gain or loss resulting from the charged offense.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Peter M. Flanagan and Ryan P. Fayhee, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Minnie D. Yuen.

The public is reminded that complaints contain charges and are not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

33 comments:

  1. Love the forbes cover genius
    Hahahahahahaahhahahhaahhahaahhahah

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  2. I'm pretty sure they laundered more than 100 million dollars if the operation was for multiple years.

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  3. Who gets the confiscated money? Save American tax dollars by putting them in Mexican jails. Also ,it states it was a 2 1/2 year operation,in that time how many more addicts were created.?

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    1. Good point about the gov. watching tons of drugs that devistate our kids and communities for years before shutting it down. I know that in a complex scheme, they have to wait until they sort it out all the way to the top. The least that they ciuld do is earmark significant forfeiture assets toward drug rehab and victims of property crimes in drug plagued communities. Give American families a fighting chance! Dont let guns or drugs walk!

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    2. :39 stated the money is confiscated and distributed to the police. Not quite accurate. What occurs is this money is taken in to federal custody, being it is a federal case. This money will be stored for a long time and used as evidence against all parties involved. Being there are so many, you are looking at a long period of time. The money will be used then for the fight against drugs. Iit will most likely be given to the DEA nad Border patrol agencies as that is where it is needed most. The police departments will only continue to receive their basic grants, which can be increased a bit by seized money. They will not get this entire pot of money being the drug war is nationwide. Also money is also provided to the many drug rehab facilities, since many are charging the clients, Best said the money is used nationwide, for any effort that will fight drugs This will be determined by the federal government. So it could wind up in the state that needs it most. The police dept. can request money from the federal government, but would need to provide the purpose of its use.

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  4. drugs r profitable In Chicago anything goes

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  5. Hey I have to go to court in markum, illinois. I wonder if I'll c that dude. He will get screwed there. It's a pretty tough court trust me. You wouldn't believe the bs I go through for an ounce of weed.

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  6. Who cares? Arrest here or there, u will never stop the trade. Legalize it! End prohibition now!

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    1. they will just move on to extortion kidnapping organ dealing anything illegal it won't work anything dirty they can make money off they will get there hands on it so I'm guessing legalize all crime and drugs and easy access to fire arms and dope there's a saying that the rules are ment to be broken.

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    2. Where I live, is it legal or not - it's not a problem. If it's legal, my government tax it so much I still make money selling it illegally. Quality is not a problem.
      Tell me how legalizing it helps?

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  7. The latin kings, 2/6, vice lords, gangsters, popes, latin maniacs, king cobras, insanes, el rukn, black panter party, p-stones, outlaws, and some other gangs will miss their brothers in crime

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  8. To 7:32, if the federal court orders the confiscated money forfeited, then each police department that worked on the investigation will get a percentage. Under federal and state laws governing the use of forfeited money, it can only be spent to conduct other investigations, for training, to buy equipment for the police, expenditures of this type.

    The big question is how many more millions or billions was Chapo and the Sinaloa Cartel able to stash away during the years that they were shipping coke, heroin, meth and marijuana into the U.S., Europe and into other countries? Homeland Security figures this group laundered $100 million since 2011. However, as big of an organization as the Sinaloa Cartel had become, I would bet that Chapo and the cartel had more than one group laundering money. Their annual profits easily exceeded the annual legal exports of the majority of Latin-American countries. The question is, where did Chapo hide the rest of the money that the cartel made during all of the years that they successfully smuggled drugs throughout the world?

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    1. Vicentillo forfeited a billion to the feds, and he's just the son

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    2. You know those amounts of drugs were exaggerated from the beginning (what isn't in US?). But of course they had many other ways to wash their money, they had to have. What if this is as much as what they catch at borders? Like 10%? :)

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    3. Ask the Mexican government about the lost hundred millions cds made or any other cartel in any country such as our loved CIA. Nobody can do what the cartels do without the help of the government. From both borders.

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  9. I am shocked that firearms were found. Chicago, like Mexico has strict gun control laws.

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    1. In my city gun control means one thing
      How you handle your gun and control the sting
      -psycho realm

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  10. GERRYMANDERING... it just flushed out too soon

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  11. This explains why so many Gold for cash stores opened up in the Chicago area.

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    1. Those are everywhere not just Chicago.

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  12. Many will say this does not hurt that cartel, well it does. This is only one story we are hearing. Imagine, as this took place, somewhere else in the US another big load most likely is being confiscated. These guys are so greedy that if you took one dolla, it would hurt them .Chicago has been a hot spot for years, yet these morons are still trying to pull the wool over folks eyes there.

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  13. Belated Anniversary for Ramon Arellano Felix death. It was Feb 10, 2002 the wrath of Ramon Arellano Felix came to a stop in Mazatlan. Can i get a moment of silence?

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  14. Know that the federal seizure laws are in the process of being significantly modified. Thanks to the U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, he and others saw the tremendous abuse of asset seizure without due process. You know, 'what's yours is mine and what's mine is mine'. However, I suspect with this type of criminal case (i.e. indictments and the rest), the largesse will be distributed to all those that raise their hand. God forbide that any of the seizure money would go towards drug abuse prevention as was initially promised Que Onda

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  15. New news, but really old news the cartels own Matamores no law no order

    I do believe the government likes it like that, when will the people get tired of it. I guess just live with it

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  16. Wheres that chapo snitched guy when you need him

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  17. Is there a spanish version to this story somewhere? @Lucio

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    1. here is one http://www.informador.com.mx/mexico/2015/576047/6/ligan-a-32-en-eu-a-lavado-de-dinero-para-cartel-de-sinaloa.htm

      Just google the title in spanish and Mexican media coverage will pop up

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  18. Wow remember when I said he offered to pay US dept and people thought he didn't have that type of money, this is just one of thousands of businesses he has operating in the US. I don't really care about the guy but there was a reason he was number 1 on the most wanted list. Homie is a super baller.

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  19. @7:10 george soros loves his gold
    @5:52 da' pigs have a saying, ''no crime wll be solved until the overtime is in''
    Another, ''we serve and protect'' (ourselves and our own), andthey looove to have pig roasts...
    As a matter of fact, the police will not go for solving any drug trafficking crime until they know where the money is, there is no law that stops the chiefs from spendng the money as they see fit, making sure their part is safe somewhere...

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    1. Oh you already know! Making sure THEIR people are not involved, and put up in the hills. Don't even get me started on Strike Force policing procedures. Serve and protect my fuckin ass.

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  20. All the tienditas of all the pushers lead to the big tiendas, banks like HSBC, BCCI, citybank, wells fargo, bank of america, the cayman islands, panama, swiss banks, they will hold on to the money and the secrecy until you die, and after...
    --Hell even the canadian lebanese bank of canada, because mexicans do not know how to add two and two, they do barely moonlight as grameros while washing cars, mmm, joan sebastian was a carwasher in chicago before he made it as a musician, he good...

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  21. HEY!!! 'Millie' thanks you know who you are for putting the hypocrite on his place ...
    --i swear it wasn't me, mil mascaras, you are not my only fan...

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  22. Gold is evil, mohammar kaddfy got beat up, sodomized and murdered for the gold and oil in is country, AND his 40 billion dollars in english banks that the banks ''can't talk about'' because of client's confidentiality AND because they are no pendejos, mainly...
    --LOW INTENSITY CONFLICTS, spearheaded by USAID with dirty spy/cell phones for the ''arab springs'' that include the mexican conflicts, cuban, venzuelan, honduran, isis, ukrainia, iran, egypt, syria, ll the dirty wars and 'soft strikes' specialty of those who wanna rule the world from their lofty perches through murder, massacres and genocide socialized for the poor...

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