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Press Release

Man Sentenced to 8 Years in Federal Prison for Laundering Drug Money

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Illinois

CHICAGO — A federal judge in Chicago has sentenced a man to eight years in prison for laundering illegal drug proceeds in the United States on behalf of traffickers in Mexico.

MIGUEL SALINAS SALCEDO served as a Mexico-based “peso broker” who arranged with drug traffickers to trade pesos that he controlled in Mexico for the cash proceeds in the U.S.  Salinas Salcedo and others worked to pick up the cash in the U.S., deposit it into various bank accounts, and make corresponding quantities of pesos available to the traffickers in Mexico.  Some of the cash pickups occurred in Chicago, Lansing, Ill., and Countryside, Ill.

Unbeknownst to Salinas Salcedo, two individuals to whom he subcontracted the work of picking up the cash were actually undercover law enforcement officers.  From 2019 to 2021, the undercover officers accepted approximately 24 cash-pickup assignments set up by Salinas Salcedo for a total of approximately $2.9 million.  Beyond the assignments the officers accepted, Salinas Salcedo offered them 103 other assignments that would have totaled approximately $17.9 million.  Evidence in the case showed that Salinas Salcedo worked with other partners and did not rely exclusively on the undercover officers to pick up the cash.

Salinas Salcedo, 42, of Sinaloa, Mexico, pleaded guilty earlier this year to a money laundering conspiracy charge.  U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman imposed the sentence Monday after a hearing in federal court in Chicago.

The sentence was announced by Morris Pasqual, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, Sean Fitzgerald, Special Agent-in-Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Chicago, and Justin Campbell, Special Agent-in-Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation in Chicago.

The case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force operation.  OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles drug trafficking organizations and other criminal networks that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local enforcement agencies.

“These weren’t just one-off transactions that defendant conducted; he was in the business of laundering funds,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew C. Erskine argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum.  “The drugs that were sold to generate the funds at issue undoubtedly caused harm to individuals within the United States both directly and indirectly.”

Updated August 9, 2023

Drug Trafficking