NEW BRITAIN COCAINE DEALER ADMITS TO CONSPIRING TO LAUNDER DRUG PROCEEDS
Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in New England and Kevin J. O'Connor, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that LUIS SANTIAGO, age 35, formerly of New Britain, Connecticut, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to launder money.
On May 26, 2004, by a federal grand jury sitting in Hartford returned an Indictment charging SANTIAGO and Michael Ciarcia with one count of conspiracy to launder money and one count of money laundering. This morning, SANTIAGO pleaded guilty to Count One of the Indictment. Ciarcia has pleaded not guilty to the charges and his trial is scheduled for February 2005.
In proceedings this morning before Unites States District Judge Alvin W. Thompson in Hartford federal court, SANTIAGO admitted that in December 2001, he gave approximately $31,000 in United States currency to Michael Ciarcia, a New Britain contractor, which funds were obtained from SANTIAGO's sale of illegal drugs. In return, Ciarcia agreed to issue weekly paychecks for the period of one year from his business, Ciarcia Construction, to SANTIAGO. SANTIAGO further admitted that between December 10, 2001 and December 14, 2002, he did not perform any services for Ciarcia Construction.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, SANTIAGO will be sentenced to a term of 33 months imprisonment. On May 27, 2003, SANTIAGO was sentenced to 108 months of imprisonment after he pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute cocaine. He is currently incarcerated. The 33-month sentence will be served concurrently with the 108-month sentence.
U.S. Attorney O'Connor stressed that an indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Ciarcia is entitled to a fair trial at which it is the Government's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
U.S. Attorney O'Connor complimented the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the New Britain Police Department for their efforts in this case.