Tampa Man And Woman Sentenced For Drug Trafficking And Money Laundering Convictions
Tampa, Florida - The Honorable Elizabeth E. Kovachevich, United States District Judge yesterday sentenced Jabulani Bendar Seay (34, Tampa) and Gwendolyn Shank (55, Tampa) for knowingly and willfully conspiring to possess with intent to distribute and distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana; and conspiring to launder drug proceeds by: (1) knowingly conducting and attempting to conduct financial transactions, with monies earned from drug trafficking; (2) knowingly conducting and attempting to conduct financial transactions with drug proceeds in a manner designed to conceal the fact that the funds were drug proceeds; and (3) knowingly engaging in and attempting to engage in financial transactions with drug proceeds of more than $10,000.00. Seay was sentenced to a term of 210 months in federal prison. Shank was sentenced to a term of 108 months in federal prison.
According to court documents, Jabulani Bender Seay and Gwendolyn Shank were knowing and willing participants in a nationwide drug trafficking and money laundering organization led by co-defendants Victor and Jorge Yanez-Gutierrez (the "Yanez-Gutierrez DTO"). The Yanez-Gutierrez DTO shipped cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana from California, to locations throughout the United States, including the Middle District of Florida. The drugs were shipped via Federal Express (FedEx), United Parcel Service (UPS), and the United States Postal Service (USPS). Drugs were also concealed inside automobiles and shipped via car-haulers.
Seay received packages of cocaine at various times in the Middle District of Florida, distributed the narcotics, and then arranged for drug proceeds to be returned to California. He distributed the cocaine to lower-level drug distributors in Tampa, St, Petersburg, and elsewhere, who in turn later provided him with drug proceeds, some of which were sent back to California via money couriers, wire transfers, and bank deposits.
On September 15, 2010, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents seized approximately $120,000 in drug proceeds from Shank, at the Tampa International Airport. The money constituted proceeds from the sale of drugs in the Middle District of Florida. Shank was attempting to transport the money back to the leaders of the Yanez-Gutierrez DTO in California.
This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations (ICE HSI), the Drug Enforcement Administration, and other federal, state, and local agencies as part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Christopher F. Murray and Josephine W. Thomas.