Third Defendant in Meth Conspiracy Sentenced
APR 09 -- (LOS ANGELES) – This morning in United States District Court in Los Angeles, Alejandro Nunez, the third defendant in a drug conspiracy case involving a Los Angeles used car dealership, Brooklyn Auto Sales, was sentenced by the honorable Judge Valarie Baker Fairbank to serve 57 months in federal custody and five years probation. Nunez pleaded guilty in October 2008 to being a part of the conspiracy with Pedro Partida to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine.
On January 22, 2010, co-defendant Pedro Partida, the former general manager of Brooklyn Auto Sales, was sentenced to 90 months in prison after previously pleading guilty to charges including conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and the failure and causing the failure to file returns relating to cash received in a trade or business.
Partida admitted in his plea agreement that he and a co-defendant, Alejandro Nunez, met with a drug trafficker on the lot of Brooklyn Auto Sales to discuss a narcotics transaction. Partida further admitted that he knew if in a 12-month period Brooklyn Auto received more than $10,000 in cash from one buyer as a result of the sale of a vehicle or vehicles, then Brooklyn Auto was required to file an IRS Form 8300, Report of Cash Transaction Received in a Trade or Business. Specifically, in December 2006, Partida admitted that he prepared and signed a sales contract which incorrectly showed that a buyer had made a down payment of less than $10,000 in cash when in fact the buyer had made a $20,000 down payment on the vehicle.
On October 14, 2009, co-defendant Jose Escobar, Sr., owner of Brooklyn Auto Sales, was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to a being a part of a conspiracy to structure financial transactions to evade currency transaction reporting requirements. As part of Jose Escobar, Sr.’s plea agreement, he admitted that he was aware of the currency transaction reporting requirements for transactions involving more than $10,000 in cash. Jose Escobar, Sr., further admitted that, from September 2000 through June 2006, he and a co-defendant knowingly agreed to make deposits of cash in incremental amounts less than $10,000 into their bank accounts to avoid the currency transaction reporting requirements. According to government filings, Jose Escobar, Sr. repeatedly and consistently deposited cash only in amounts under $10,000. Although Escobar, Sr. deposited a total of over $6 million in cash over six years, not a single deposit was over $10,000.
As a part of their plea agreements, Jose Escobar, Sr. and Partida agreed to forfeit to the United States their interest in three parcels of real property as well as their interest in the vehicles seized from the Brooklyn Auto Sales business locations. In total, Jose Escobar, Sr. agreed to forfeit his interest in approximately 149 vehicles previously seized in this investigation.
This Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) operation was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, High Intensity Financial Crimes Area Task Force, Southern California Drug Task Force, El Monte Police Department, Bell Gardens Police Department, Pomona Police Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, California Department of Motor Vehicles and the Los Angeles U.S. Attorney’s Office.