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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 24, 2021

El Paso Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Money Laundering Connected to East Texas Meth Trafficking Ring

Prosecution Comes as Part of “Operation Patch Over,” a Multiagency Narcotics and Money Laundering Investigation

MARSHALL, Texas – An El Paso man was sentenced to prison today for his role in a money laundering conspiracy in the Eastern District of Texas, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei.

Damian Munoz, 36, pleaded guilty on April 20, 2020 to conspiracy to commit money laundering and was sentenced to 35 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap today.

“Drug trafficking is a predatory enterprise that victimizes vulnerable addicts, while simultaneously encouraging violence and criminality for profit,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei.  “We are committed to cutting off the flow of profits to those who would harm our communities in order to put them out of business.” 

According to information presented in court, Munoz was associated with an organization responsible for importing large quantities of methamphetamine from Mexico and distributing it in Hughes Springs and elsewhere.  The organization was also responsible for trafficking numerous firearms acquired in East Texas down to Mexico.  Munoz received more than $15,000 in drug proceeds from traffickers and then transported this cash to others located in Mexico.  On May 16, 2019, twenty-one others were indicted by a federal grand jury, and charged with violations of federal drug trafficking, firearms, and money laundering laws. 

Operation Patch Over is a long-term drug trafficking and money-laundering investigation that has already resulted in the arrest and prosecution of numerous co-conspirators.  Twenty others have already pleaded guilty and been sentenced in the case, including Oscar Dean Davis, who received 264 months in prison as the head of the East Texas methamphetamine distribution ring.

This is an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) case and is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the Texas Department of Public Safety.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lucas Machicek.  OCDETF is the largest anti-crime task force in the country and its mission is to disrupt and dismantle the most significant drug trafficking and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States. The prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency task forces leverage the authorities and expertise of federal, state, and local law enforcement.

Updated March 24, 2021