Six Convicted for Roles in Multi-Million Dollar Black Market Peso Exchange Money-Laundering Scheme
A federal jury in Laredo, Texas found four men and two women guilty for their roles in a two-year multi-million dollar black market peso exchange money-laundering scheme, the Justice Department announced.
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Ryan Patrick of the Southern District of Texas, Special Agent in Charge Will R. Glaspy of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Special Agent in Charge D. Richard Goss of the IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) made the announcement.
Adrian Arciniega-Hernandez, 36, of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico; Adriana Alejandra Galvan-Constantini, 36, and Luis Montes-Patino, 57, both of Irving, Texas, and Ravinder Reddy Gudipati, 61; Harsh Jaggi, 54; and Neeru Jaggi, 51, all of Laredo, Texas, were each convicted of a money laundering conspiracy following a five-week jury trial. In addition, Harsh Jaggi and Adrian Arcinieg-Hernandez were each convicted of two counts of money laundering and Neeru Jaggi was convicted of one count of money laundering. Gudipati was convicted of two counts of money laundering, two counts of causing a trade or business to fail to file a Form 8300, and one count of causing a trade or business to file a Form 8300 containing a material omission and misstatement of facts. Arciniega-Hernandez was found not guilty of a third count of money laundering. Sentencing before U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmalejo of the Southern District of Texas, Laredo Division, who presided over the trial, has not yet been scheduled.
Arciniega-Hernandez, Galvan-Constantini, Montes-Patino, Gudipati, Harsh Jaggi, and Neeru Jaggi were part of a complex money laundering scheme whereby money derived from the sale of drugs in the United States were laundered through businesses in Laredo, in order to return these proceeds to Mexican drug dealers.
According to the evidence presented at trial, from 2011 through 2013, Galvan-Constantini, Montes-Patino and other co-conspirators helped to move millions of dollars derived from the sale of drugs throughout the United States, including New York, Kentucky, North Carolina, Illinois, Mississippi, and multiple cities in Texas to Laredo, Texas. The U.S. currency was moved by couriers, including Galvan-Constantini and Montes-Patino, via cars, commercial buses, commercial planes, and a private plane in bulk cash amounts of up to hundreds of thousands of dollars at a time. The money, in heat sealed packs, uneven rubber-banded money stacks, or loose U.S. currency, arrived in plastic bags, cloth bags, suitcases, backpacks, and even cereal boxes. The money was then distributed among downtown Laredo, Texas perfume stores, including El Reino International Inc., and NYSA Impex LLC. The owner of NYSA Impex LLC, Gudipati, and the owners of El Reino International Inc., Harsh Jaggi, and Neeru Jaggi, accepted loose bulk-cash, even after being told it was “narco dinero.” The store owners also failed to file Form 8300s which are required when more than $10,000 in cash is received by a business, or filed Form 8300s which omitted pertinent information such as the name of the courier who brought the bulk cash.
Co-defendant Carlos Velasaquez, 55, of Laredo, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder money on Nov. 7, 2018, and is pending sentencing.
This case was investigated by the DEA and IRS-CI. Trial Attorneys Keith Liddle and Stephanie Williamson of the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section (MLARS) and Assistant U.S. Attorney José Angel Moreno of the Southern District of Texas are prosecuting the case, with the support and assistance of MLARS Trial Attorney Kerry Blackburn.