Boston Man Pleads Guilty to Role in International Money Laundering Conspiracy
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts
BOSTON – A Boston man pleaded guilty yesterday to his involvement in a sophisticated international money laundering and drug trafficking organization.
Mariano Santana, 57, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering. U.S. District Judge Angel Kelley scheduled sentencing for Nov. 30, 2023.
In May 2023, Santana was among 12 individuals from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York and California charged in a superseding indictment for their alleged involvement in a sophisticated international money laundering and drug trafficking organization allegedly led by Jin Hua Zhang.
According to the charging documents, Zhang allegedly laundered bulk cash for drug dealers and laundered profits from other illegal businesses for a fee. It is alleged that, during the investigation, Zhang directed his co-defendant couriers, and others, to deliver to undercover agents hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and millions of dollars in wire transfers and bank deposits. In total, Zhang and his organization allegedly laundered at least $25 million worth of drug proceeds and funds from other illegal businesses traced to Hong Kong and elsewhere in China, India, Cambodia, and Brazil, among other locations.
Santana was a courier who dropped off drug money to be laundered by the Zhang organization. On two separate occasions in June 2022, Santana delivered bulk cash deliveries of illicit proceeds to a cooperating witness in a Quincy parking lot. Specifically, on June 2, 2022, Santana provided the individual with a bag containing $30,000 in cash. On June 7, 2022, Santana delivered $29,800 in cash,
The charge of money laundering conspiracy provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $500,000, or twice the amount involved, whichever is greater. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.
Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy and Jodi Cohen, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher Pohl, Brian A. Fogerty and Meghan C. Cleary of the Criminal Division are prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The remaining defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Updated September 5, 2023