States Attorney's Office District of Connecticut
|September 24, 2010||
COLOMBIAN NATIONAL INVOLVED IN MONEY LAUNDERING CONSPIRACY SENTENCED TO 34 MONTHS IN FEDERAL PRISON
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that GONZALO BUENO, 72, a citizen of Colombia last residing in Brooklyn, New York, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Mark R. Kravitz in New Haven to approximately 34 months of imprisonment, time served, for his role in an international money laundering conspiracy.
This matter stems from “Operation Babbling Brook,” a Drug Enforcement Administration-led investigation into suspected money laundering by a Colombian-based organization. According to court documents and statements made in court, the organization employed operatives in the United States and funneled millions of dollars in drug proceeds from the U.S. to Medellin, Colombia. The investigation, which utilized a variety of traditional and sophisticated investigative techniques, including court-authorized interception of international e-mail, disclosed that the money laundering organization used direct deposits of cash into third-party bank accounts, as well as payment of third-party debt obligations to move cash drug proceeds from the New York metropolitan area out of the country. The organization also used “stored value cards,” which function like debit cards and enabled cardholders to deposit U.S. dollars into accounts locally, to be withdrawn later from banks in Medellin as Colombian pesos.
More than $7 million in drug proceeds were laundered through this scheme.
On February 12, 2008, BUENO pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, admitting that, during the course of the conspiracy, he received between $400,000 and $700,000 in cash, which he knew to be drug proceeds. He then deposited the cash in small increments into various bank accounts, knowing that the funds would go to Colombia.
BUENO, who has been detained since November 2007, will be deported to Colombia.
This matter is being investigated by the Bridgeport Resident Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys H. Gordon Hall and Rahul Kale.
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