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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, July 8, 2016

Florida Man Sentenced To 5 Years In Federal Prison For Structuring Drug Money

FRESNO, Calif. — Peter Santo Capodieci, 25, of Crystal River, Florida, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill to five years in prison for conspiring to structure cash transactions, Acting United States Attorney Phillip Talbert announced.    

According to court documents and testimony, Capodieci and co-conspirators operated a drug trafficking organization that shipped millions of dollars in marijuana from California to Florida and other states. To move the proceeds of that marijuana distribution back to California, Capodieci and co-conspirators opened and maintained bank accounts at several national banks. More than $7.5 million in cash proceeds from the drug distribution was deposited into and withdrawn from those accounts. Most of those cash transactions were carried out in amounts of $10,000 or less to prevent the banks from filing Currency Transaction Reports on the transactions. Capodieci’s bank accounts were used to deposit and withdraw more than $2.5 million in cash, all of which consisted of proceeds from marijuana trafficking.

This case is being brought as part of Operation Footprint, a nationwide law enforcement initiative led by the U.S. Attorney’s Offices, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the United States Postal Inspection Service. Operation Footprint targets large drug trafficking organizations by identifying the transfer of drug proceeds through financial institutions, bulk cash smuggling, and other forms of money transfers. Operation Footprint is focused on bringing criminal charges based on Bank Secrecy Act violations in addition to violations of the Controlled Substances Act and the Money Laundering Control Act.

This case is also the product of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a focused multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force investigating and prosecuting the most significant drug trafficking organizations throughout the United States by leveraging the combined expertise of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. Assistant U.S. Attorney Grant B. Rabenn is prosecuting the case. 

Co-defendant Chad Riffle was sentenced to five years imprisonment; co-defendant Jeremy Murphy was sentenced to fifteen months imprisonment; co-defendants Miguel Gonzalez, Bree Benson, and Brandon Thomas have pleaded guilty to conspiring to structure financial transactions and are awaiting sentencing. Co-defendant Ashley Starling Thomas was convicted on multiple counts of money laundering and structuring following a three-day trial and is scheduled to be sentenced August 29, 2016. 

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Updated July 8, 2016