Saturday, March 10, 2018

CDS : US Justice Dept Serves Up 75 Money Laundering Charges

Translated by Yaqui for Borderland Beat from: Universal

Extra Material from US DOJ March 8, 2018

The Department of Justice of the United States today filed charges against 75 people who were part of a money laundering network linked to the Sinaloa cartel that brought "tens of millions of dollars " of illicit origin from the United States to Mexico in the period between 2015 and 2018.

In the suit, filed in the Southern District Court of California, José Roberto López Albarrán, arrested in San Diego (California) on February 9, is named as the ringleader of this money laundering organization in Mexico from drug traffickers in U.S.

Adam Braverman, federal district attorney, said the modus operandi of the organization went from mobilizing cash across the border between San Diego and Tijuana BC, Mexico to make deposits in banks across the country and then transfer the money to the neighboring country.



"The coordinated actions at the national level that we announced today have put this organization out of business permanently," the San Diego-based federal office said in a press conference where 40 of the 75 individuals named in the indictment were charged. the demand .

The rest of those involved face criminal charges in federal courts in Ohio, Kentucky, Kansas and Washington, officials said.

Braverman said the investigation required the support of his counterparts south of the border.
"Our collaboration with our partners in Mexico was key to the success of this case," he said.

John A. Brown, special agent the FBI in San Diego, said that after "following the money", they were able to find the location of drugs and weapons of transnational organized crime.

"The work unit found a network of sophisticated money laundering operations, where transactions occurred across the country and our borders," he said.

As part of the investigation, more than $ 6 million USD in cash was seized, as were 95 kilograms of methamphetamine, 63 Kilos of heroin, 10 Kilos of fentanyl, 92 Kilos of cocaine, 252 kilos of marijuana, 20 guns, which included semi -automatic assault rifles.

From the US DOJ :

Department of Justice , U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of California
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, March 8, 2018

Nationwide Takedown Targets Brazen International Money Laundering Scheme: 

40 Defendants Charged in San Diego with Conspiring To Launder Millions of Dollars in Drug Money for Mexican Cartels:

SAN DIEGO – Indictments were unsealed today in San Diego federal court charging 40 members of an international money-laundering scheme with conspiring to launder tens of millions of dollars in drug money.

In addition to the indictments unsealed today in San Diego, a total of 75 defendants nationwide have been charged across the United States with crimes ranging from drug distribution to money laundering, all stemming from this investigation, including defendants in the Southern District of Ohio, the Eastern District of Kentucky, the District of Kansas, and the Eastern District of Washington.

According to the indictments and other publicly filed court documents, Jose Roberto Lopez-Albarran, a significant money broker for a Mexican-based international money laundering organization, along with other members of the organization, allegedly laundered tens of millions of dollars in narcotics proceeds from the United States to Mexico between 2015 and 2018. 

As a result of the investigation, law enforcement seized more than $6 million dollars in United States currency as well as 95 kilograms of methamphetamine, 63 kilograms of heroin, 10 kilograms of fentanyl, 92 kilograms of cocaine, 252 kilograms of marijuana, worth millions of dollars on the streets, and 20 firearms, including semiautomatic assault rifles and handguns. 

Lopez-Albarran oversaw a network of co-conspirators to assist in transferring millions of dollars in narcotics proceeds from drug dealers in the United States to drug suppliers in Mexico, including to individuals working for the Sinaloa Cartel. 

As part of the investigation, the FBI deployed undercover agents and task force officers from the San Diego District Attorney’s Office, Bureau of Investigation, Chula Vista Police Department, and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Office to infiltrate Lopez-Albarran’s organization and after gaining the trust of the organization, agreed to pick up bulk currency across the United States for transfer to Mexico. 

Over the course of the last two years, undercover agents identified multiple individuals known as “money movers,” i.e., people responsible for collecting narcotics proceeds and disposing of those proceeds as directed by either the drug trafficking organization or the money brokers.

Law enforcement then received phone numbers and code words from Lopez-Albarran to contact these money movers to arrange for the delivery of narcotics proceeds. The money movers concealed and transported amounts ranging from thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars in narcotics proceeds at a time, hidden within compartments in vehicles, luggage, duffel bags and shoeboxes.

 These cash deliveries took place in locations such as parking lots of retail stores, hotels, and restaurants across the United States, including ones in San Diego, California; Los Angeles, California; Kansas City, Missouri; New York, New York; Cincinnati, Ohio; Dayton, Ohio; Lexington, Kentucky; Boston, Massachusetts; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Chicago, Illinois. By targeting these money movers, law enforcement was able to discover multiple drug trafficking cells across the United States responsible for importing and distributing substantial quantities of fentanyl, heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine.

 In addition, another lead defendant, Manuel Reynoso Garcia, along with his co-conspirators were charged last month in San Diego federal court for their sophisticated money laundering activities. He and his co-conspirators directed money movers to travel throughout the East Coast to collect bulk cash and deposit the bulk cash into domestic bank accounts set up through a web of “funnel” bank accounts. Once the bulk cash was deposited into the funnel bank accounts, co-conspirators, under the direction of Reynoso and others, conducted international wire transfers of the funds to Mexican bank accounts associated with false companies in Mexico controlled by the money laundering organization.

Lopez-Albarran was arrested on February 9, 2018 in San Diego and remains in federal custody. Reynoso and four of his co-defendants were also arrested between January 11, 2018, and January 17, 2018, in San Diego. Sixteen of the remaining defendants charged in San Diego have been arrested in Boston, Massachusetts; Los Angeles, California; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and elsewhere. Five additional defendants were already in custody for previously charged crimes and will be transferred to the Southern District of California to be arraigned in the coming days.

In addition, approximately 35 other defendants have been charged in connection with this investigation in other jurisdictions including the Southern District of Ohio, the Eastern District of Kentucky, the District of Kansas, and the Eastern District of Washington.

“We have siphoned the cash and the life out of a San Diego-based international money laundering organization with ties to the Sinaloa Cartel,” said U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman. “By following the money, we have discovered large quantities of fentanyl, heroin and methamphetamine that are no longer destined for the streets of America. That’s a one-two punch that takes these organizations completely out of the ring and makes our communities safer.”

“These types of complex investigations, spanning across the nation and our international boundaries, requires a fundamental change in how we share information, coordinate and collaborate.   These joint investigations, where shared awareness and decentralized execution was the norm, can and must be how we disrupt these drug trafficking and money laundering networks in the future,” said Special Agent in Charge John A. Brown of the San Diego Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  “This case model is built upon the incredible collaboration of the federal, state, and local partners across the United States and in Mexico.  Today, this case exemplifies how dedicated collaboration equals success.”

“Taking on and stopping transnational criminal organizations requires dedication and sacrifice,” said District Attorney Summer Stephan. “We worked collaboratively with our law enforcement partners and dedicated key resources over a two-year period.  As a result, this undercover operation has brought down high-level cartel associates and stopped the distribution of dangerous drugs like heroin and fentanyl in San Diego and cities across the U.S.”

“When drug traffickers amass large quantities of cash from narcotics sales, they often attempt to transfer and/or legitimize these ill-gotten profits through the use of banks and financial institutions,” said Special Agent in Charge R. Damon Rowe, IRS-Criminal Investigation.  “This joint investigation continues to demonstrate our efforts to ensure that the financial services industry will not be abused by large-scale narcotics traffickers, but will be operated in a fair and honest manner to promote the public interest.”

U.S. Attorney Braverman also praised federal, state, and local law enforcement for the coordinated team effort in the culmination of this investigation. This case was led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Cross Border Violence Task Force (CBVTF). The CBVTF is a FBI-led task force comprised of federal and local law enforcement from the FBI, San Diego District Attorney’s Office Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, Customs and Border Protection, San Diego County Sheriff’s Office and the Chula Vista Police Department. Agents and officers from the IRS Criminal Investigation, U.S. Bureau of Prisons, U.S. Marshals Service and the California Highway Patrol also provided vital assistance. 

Attorneys from the Department of Justice, Office of Enforcement Operations, Electronic Surveillance Unit, likewise provided critical work as part of the investigative team. He also thanked our vital foreign partners - Mexican Federal Police, Mexico’s Procuraduria General de la Republic (PGR) and Mexican Financial Intelligence Agency (Unidad de Inteligencia Financial - UIF).

                                                  " En Las Garras de la Puma "

This case is the result of the ongoing efforts by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) a partnership that brings together the combined expertise and unique abilities of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, dismantle and prosecute high level members of drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations and enterprises.

The United States is represented in court by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew J. Sutton, David J. Rawls, and Blanca Quintero

Defendant Information

Defendants                                                              Criminal Case No: 18-cr-1129-GPC

Defendant Number, Name, Age, Hometown

1- Jose Roberto Lopez-Albarran, 32, Culiacan, Mexico

2 - Alfredo Cardenas-Uriarte, 55, Culiacan, Mexico

3- Juan Duarte-Tello, 53, Kansas City, Missouri

4- Diana Aurora Holguin-Gallegos, 30, Kansas City, Missouri

5- REDACTED

X- REDACTED

6- Shontail Marie Hocker, 42, Lexington, Kentucky

7- Nereida Valdez, 30, Los Angeles, California

8- REDACTED

X- REDACTED

9- REDACTED

X- REDACTED

10- REDACTED

X- REDACTED

11- Jose Luis Fuentes, 37, Los Angeles, California

12, REDACTED

X, REDACTED

13- Miguel Angel Flores, 36, Los Angeles, California

14- REDACTED

X- REDACTED

15- REDACTED

16- Endy Santiago, 16 , Boston, Massachusetts

17- Luis Sanchez Baez, 30, Boston, Massachusetts

X- REDACTED

18- REDACTED

19- Hendry Mateo, 39, Boston, Massachusetts

X- REDACTED

20- REDACTED

X- REDACTED

21- REDACTED

X- REDACTED

22- REDACTED

X- REDACTED

23- REDACTED

24- Christian Brown, 41 Boston, Massachusetts

25- Jose Figueroa, 38, Boston, Massachusetts

26- Alfredin Mejia Soto, 29, Boston, Massachusetts

Summary Of Charges:

Conspiracy to Launder Monetary Instruments (18 U.S.C. 1956(h)). 

 Maximum Penalties: Term of custody up to 20 years’ imprisonment, a fine of $500,000 or twice the value of the monetary instrument or funds involved, and 5 years of supervised release.

 Defendants:                                                                          Criminal Case No: 18-cr-1127-GPC

Defendant Number, Name, Age, Hometown

 1- Jesus Adolfo Rene Duarte Languren, 35, Los Angeles, California

2- Manuel Vasquez Medina, 44, Los Angeles, California

3- REDACTED

X- REDACTED

4- Manuel Dejesus Estrada, 28, Los Angeles, California

5- REDACTED

X- REDACTED

Summary Of Charges:

Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances, in violation of Title 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 846.

Conspiracy to Launder Monetary Instruments (18 U.S.C. 1956(h)).

Maximum Penalties: Term of custody including a mandatory minimum 10 years and up to life imprisonment, $10,000,000 fine and 5 years supervised release. For money laundering charges, term of custody up to 20 years’ imprisonment, a fine of $500,000 or twice the value of the monetary instrument or funds involved, and 5 years of supervised release.

Defendants:                                                  Criminal Case No: 18-cr-1128-GPC

Defendant Number, Name, Age, Hometown

1- Jose Roberto Lopez-Albarran, 32, Culiacan, Mexico

2- REDACTED

X -REDACTED

3- REDACTED

X- REDACTED

4- REDACTED

X- REDACTED

Summary Of Charges

Conspiracy to Launder Monetary Instruments (18 U.S.C. 1956(h)).

Maximum Penalties: Term of custody up to 20 years’ imprisonment, a fine of $500,000 or twice the value of the monetary instrument or funds involved, and 5 years of supervised release.



Defendants                                                  Criminal Case No: 17-cr-02203-WQH

Defendant Number, Name, Age, Hometown

1- Manuel Reynoso Garcia ,62, Tijuana, Mexico

2- Perla Alejandra Perez Guirado, 25, Tijuana, Mexico

3- Estefania Plascencia Ponce, 35, Tijuana, Mexico

4- Joaquin Enrique Ramirez Calva, 28, Tijuana, Mexico

5- Gilberto Beltran Salazar, 29 , Tijuana , BC , Mexico

Summary of Charges:

Conspiracy to Launder Monetary Instruments (18 U.S.C. 1956(h))

Conspiracy to Operate an Unlicensed Money Transmitting Business (18 U.S.C. 1960(a))

Maximum Penalties: Term of custody up to 20 years’ imprisonment, a fine of $500,000 or twice the value of the monetary instrument or funds involved, and 5 years of supervised release.  For conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business, term of custody up to 5 years’ imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.

*The charges and allegations contained in an indictment, information, or complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

 AGENCIES:

Federal Bureau of Investigation – Cross Border Violence Task Force

San Diego District Attorney’s Office - Bureau of Investigation

San Diego County Sheriff’s Office

Chula Vista Police Department

Drug Enforcement Administration

Customs and Border Protection

Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation

United States Marshals Service

U.S. Bureau of Prisons

California Highway Patrol

Department of Justice, Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces

Department of Justice, Office of Enforcement Operations

Department of Justice, Office of International Affairs

U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio

U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Kentucky

U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Kansas

U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington

U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois

U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina

U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts

U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York

Mexican Federal Police

Mexico’s Procuraduria General de la Republic (PGR)

Mexican Financial Intelligence Agency (Unidad de Inteligencia Financial - UIF)


18CR1127-GPC - Redacted Indictment

18CR1128-GPC - Redacted Indictment

18CR1129-GPC - Redacted Indictment

Topics: Drug Trafficking, Components: Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, USAO -Southern California

For Further Information, Contact:
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew J. Sutton (619) 546-8941, David J. Rawls (619) 546-7966, and Blanca Quintero (619) 546-7118