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Press Release

Five Tampa Residents Charged In $21 Million Money Laundering Conspiracy Of Drug Trafficking Proceeds

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Tampa, FL – United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces the unsealing of a 37-count indictment charging five individuals with money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering. If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison per count. The indictment also notifies the defendants that the United States is seeking a money judgment of $21,567,939 and forfeiture of approximately $167,008 seized from a bank account, which represents the proceeds of the offenses.



Age, Residence


Hector Rodriguez Mendez

44, Tampa

Counts 1 through 37

Virginia Garcia Moreta

33, Tampa

Counts 1 through 37

Leo Pichardo

60, Tampa

Counts 1-7, 12, 16-20, 23, 25, 29, 31, and 33-35

Cleto Dominguez

38, Tampa

Counts 1, 8-11, 13-15, 24, 30, 37

Samuel Rivera

42, Tampa

Counts 1, 21-22, 26-28, 32

According to the indictment, the individuals used the cash proceeds of drug trafficking to purchase cashier’s checks in their individual capacities and through various businesses that they had created. These cashier’s checks were then remitted to various other individual and business accounts to receive, disguise, conceal, and distribute the drug trafficking proceeds.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.          

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, and Homeland Security Investigations as part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s drug supply. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dan Baeza.

Updated June 30, 2020

Financial Fraud