News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 13, 2009
Erin Mulvey
Public Information Officer
212 337-2906

New York City Police Officer Charged with Laundering Drug Proceeds

FEB 13 -- JOHN P. GILBRIDE, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York Field Division (“DEA”), LEV L. DASSIN, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, PETER J. SMITH, Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”), and RAYMOND W. KELLY, Police Commissioner of the City of New York ("NYPD"), announced the arrest this morning of YANIRIS BALBUENA, a NYPD officer, for conspiracy to commit money laundering. BALBUENA, 31, of Otisville, New York, was arrested by ICE Strike Force agents and NYPD Internal Affairs detectives earlier this morning. According to the criminal Complaint unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:

Since March 2000, BALBUENA has served as a NYPD Officer. During the time of the charged conspiracy, BALBUENA was the common law wife of a known narcotics trafficker who operated in the Bronx, New York. According to cooperating witnesses, BALBUENA received thousands of dollars in drug proceeds, and laundered the money by depositing the cash into bank accounts she controlled. Banking records for approximately nine accounts owed or controlled by BALBUENA evidence that during the charged conspiracy, she received and deposited more than $230,000 of unexplained cash into her bank accounts, an amount which far surpassed her legitimate income. BALBUENA is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of twenty years in prison and a fine of the greater of $500,000, or twice the value of the property involved in the offense.

Mr. DASSIN praised the outstanding investigative work of the New York Organized Crime Drug Enforcement “Strike Force,” Group Z-13, which is comprised of agents and officers of the United States DEA, the NYPD, the United States Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, ICE, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the New York State Police, the United States Marshals Service, the United States Secret Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Mr. DASSIN also thanked the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau for its work in the case. The Strike Force is partially funded by the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), which is a federally funded crime fighting initiative.

Assistant United States Attorney KENNETH A. POLITE is in charge of this prosecution. The charges set forth in the Complaint are merely allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless until found guilty.