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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 19, 2018

Mexican Citizen Sentenced to 57 Months for Money Courier Role in Cocaine Conspiracy

ALBANY, NEW YORK – Eduardo Nunez Serna, age 44, and a citizen of Mexico, was sentenced today to 57 months in prison for conspiring to launder the proceeds of a large cocaine trafficking organization. 

The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith; James J. Hunt, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); James D. Robnett, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office of IRS-Criminal Investigation; and Special Agent in Charge Kevin Kelly of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Buffalo Field Office.

Between August 2014 and March 30, 2016, a money laundering and drug trafficking organization based in Montreal, Canada, collected cash from selling marijuana in the United States and cocaine in Canada.  The cash was delivered to couriers in, among other places, Albany County, Ulster County, and Montreal so that the cash could be delivered, either by a courier or by wire, to cocaine suppliers to purchase cocaine.  At least $1 million was sent to Chicago, Los Angeles, Peru, Mexico and Colombia; money was also wired to China.  The organization then arranged for the smuggling of cocaine back to Canada, and transported some of the cocaine through northern New York.

Nunez Serna, an illegal alien, acted as a money courier based in Chicago, Illinois, where he lived.  Nunez Serna picked up cash sent by the money laundering and drug trafficking organization from the sale of marijuana in northern New York on at least two occasions.  He forwarded this money to a cocaine supplier based in Acapulco, Mexico.  On October 27, 2015, law enforcement searched Nunez Serna’s residence and found $710,827 in cash as well as a money ledger denoting transactions.  Nunez Serna also had cellophane wrapping, duct tape, rubber bands, a heat sealer, money counter, and other packaging items used to count and repackage this cash.  

United States District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino also sentenced Nunez Serna to a 3-year term of post-imprisonment supervised release, to begin after he is released from prison and in the event he remains in the country.  Nunez Serna was also ordered to forfeit $355,000 in drug proceeds.

As part of the same case, all of the following people have pled guilty to conspiracy to commit international or promotional money laundering.  Iraklis Haviaropoulos, Carlos Alberto Ocampo Garcia, and Jose Mauricio Ortiz Bolanos have also pled guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine, before Judge D’Agostino:

Name

Age

Residence

Charges

Sentencing Date

Iraklis Haviaropoulos

41

Montreal, Canada

Cocaine conspiracy > 5 kilograms

International money laundering conspiracy

May 23

Carlos Alberto Ocampo Garcia

56

Cali, Colombia

Cocaine conspiracy > 5 kilograms

International money laundering conspiracy

May 30

Jose Mauricio Ortiz Bolanos

30

Cali, Colombia

Cocaine conspiracy > 5 kilograms

International money laundering conspiracy

May 31

James DeSantis

56

Pompano Beach, Florida

International money laundering conspiracy

May 30

This case is the result of the close cooperative efforts of the DEA, including the Albany District Office and DEA offices in Peru, Mexico, Colombia, Guatemala, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Worcester, Massachusetts; IRS-Criminal Investigation and HSI.  These federal agencies worked closely with the Sûreté du Québec, the Canada Border Services Agency, the Peruvian National Police, and the Colombian National Police.  U.S. Border Patrol, the Malone Police Department, the New York State Police, the Chicago Police Department, the Massachusetts State Police, and the Watervliet Police Department also provided assistance. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth R. Rabe. 

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Updated March 20, 2018