Tuesday, May 21, 2019

“El Mono” Muñoz Makes Plea Deal, Now is US Informant

Yaqui for Borderland Beat from: MySan Antonio y Vangurdia
Juan Manuel “"El Mono” Muñoz Luevano, Politically connected Mexican businessman, once a fugitive, is now a government witness in San Antonio, Texas, USA

By: Guillermo Contreras
A politically connected Mexican businessman pleaded guilty Monday in San Antonio to conspiracy to launder drug money, formalizing a deal that turned the former high-value fugitive into a government informant.

Juan Manuel “"El Mono” Muñoz Luevano, who is from Coahuila, Mexico, was extradited to San Antonio in March from Spain, where he was arrested in 2016 on allegations of importing drugs through one of the European countries’ busiest ports.

The San Antonio Express newspaper reported that the alleged Los Zetas operator will collaborate with the US government

Juan Manuel Muñoz Luevano, alleged operator of Los Zetas in Spain and related to different political figures of Coahuila, pleaded guilty in a Texas Court for the crime of conspiracy to launder money. In November he will be sentenced in the United States.
Muñoz, the owner of a chain of gas stations in northern Mexico, was indicted in San Antonio in 2015 with four counts related to the import and distribution of cocaine into Texas, a money laundering conspiracy count and conspiracy to possess a firearm during drug trafficking.

Muñoz pleaded guilty only to the money laundering conspiracy charge after Assistant U.S Attorney Russell Leachman, under seal, replaced the indictment with a document called a criminal information that left only the money laundering conspiracy charge intact. Leachman declined comment afterward.
After the hearing, Muñoz’s lawyers, Jose Puig of Florida and Roy Barrera Jr. of San Antonio, declined to answer most questions, as they — accompanied by Muñoz’s Mexican lawyers — entered the U.S. Marshal’s offices inside the federal courthouse to speak with their client.

Asked about news reports in the Mexican media that said Muñoz has provided a list of at least 80 corrupt Mexican officials to U.S. agents, Puig said they are “lies” but would not answer questions about his client’s cooperation.

At the hearing, Senior U.S. District Judge David Ezra, who took Muñoz’s plea, talked in circular fashion, careful to not reveal any of the details that have made Muñoz such a high-value target for U.S. prosecutors, who have been investigating some Mexican politicians and government officials, including a former governor of Coahuila, in a money-laundering case spanning several years.

Muñoz’s plea deal, which would include a factual basis within it that would provide more detail, is sealed and the judge kept it that way, over objections from a reporter with the San Antonio Express-News. The judge cited federal rules, which give prosecutors discretion in sealing portions of the court file and deciding when they can be made public. Many cases like Muñoz’s have ended with the plea deals remaining sealed indefinitely.

Puig also told the judge he is seeking bond for his client, and prosecutors, who normally oppose such requests in cases of fugitives that have to be extradited, remained silent when Puig broached the issue. The judge left that matter to be taken up at a later unspecified date.

Media reports in Spain and Mexico said law enforcement in Spain heard Muñoz on wiretaps calling from his residence in a suburb of Madrid back to Mexico to threaten or extort others or to order beatdowns and killings. He reportedly also has close ties to Coahuila political figures, and to prosecutors, ex-prosecutors, mayors, congressional lawmakers and judges from various Mexican states.

Among those he was close to, the reports said, is Humberto Moreira, who was governor of Coahuila from 2005 to 2011. Moreira went on to become the national president of one of Mexico’s prominent political parties, the PRI, until he resigned amid controversies related to the debt of Coahuila, which rose from $27 million to $2.8 billion under his tenure.

Federal agents in San Antonio have been investigating Moreira for several years in connection with money laundering allegations here, but he has not been charged and denies any wrongdoing.

One of Moreira’s former Cabinet members, Hector Javier Villarreal Hernandez, treasurer of Coahuila from 2008 to 2010, has told investigators of the ties, according to El País newspaper in Spain, which cited investigative documents about Villarreal’s statements to Spanish authorities.

Villareal has been free on bond since pleading guilty here in September 2014 for laundering, in real estate in San Antonio and South Texas, millions of dollars stolen from Coahuila’s coffers. He had also been a fugitive before striking a deal with the feds here and being released on bond — a path Muñoz is seeking.
In Mexico, Muñoz appeared to be caught in a war among cartels and was in Spain to handle affairs for Los Zetas in Europe, according to media reports.

In 2013, during a war between the Sinaloa and Los Zetas drug cartels, a number of Muñoz’s gas stations were attacked and set on fire, the Mexican news magazine Proceso reported. Presumed members of the Sinaloa Cartel hung banners accusing Muñoz of laundering money and buying stolen gasoline from the Zetas, according to Proceso.

The charges in San Antonio against Muñoz stem from alleged drug activity here dating to 1999 through his indictment in January 2015, but prosecutors have never publicly revealed details. In court, prosecutor Leachman told the judge that Muñoz knowingly conducted illegal financial transactions with currency from unlawful drug trafficking.

The maximum punishment is 20 years in prison, though an agreed sentence is part of the sealed plea deal, the judge noted. Sentencing is set for Nov. 25.

8 comments:

  1. Good you posted this Yaqui. I sent this earlier to borderlandbeat.
    Troubling indications of the extent of corruption in Mexico. Only to be disputed and denied by Mexico's government officials.
    This display of concern will definitely play an important role for what's transpiring in Mexico. Along with how others (countries) to approach this urgency of insecurity in that region.

    E42

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  2. Munoz is collered where are the Moreira?They helped the Zetas to prosper and grow and subsequently wreak havoc on 1000s.

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  3. Burn that rat alive after skinning his ass alive

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  4. The U.S wants their cut.. tax season on them boys

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  5. Slap on the hand, if they are connected to US interests they got it made, I Don't trust Mexican businessmen, really, the moment they cross the border they become like the virgin's pearls, must be all those pancakes and hameneggs...
    Fackthetshet, but they always have help and puppet masters and assessors that never get caught or are working undercover and get away with it.

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  6. Wow he is exposing 80 currupted officials of Mexico, and one who took millions is denying it.

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  7. El MONO.. translation the Monkey.
    Best ALIAS ever.. fits him like a glove.

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    Replies
    1. He really does look like a chimp 😂. For those who discredit evolution please look at this guy lmfao

      Phelpso

      Delete

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