Man Sentenced for Conspiring to Launder Money in Methamphetamine Trafficking Operation
One of three men who ran a methamphetamine trafficking and money laundering operation in Tulsa and the surrounding area was sentenced today in federal court, announced U.S. Attorney Trent Shores.
U.S. District Judge Gregory K. Frizzell sentenced Javier Passement, 55, of Tulsa, to nine years in federal prison.
“Money laundering is the lifeblood of criminal organizations. These corrupt banking transactions move dirty money all across the globe so that the criminal organization can operate outside the law,” said U.S. Attorney Trent Shores. “Thanks to our Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, a local money laundering operation with international ties has been shut down. Javier Passement and his ilk are just as responsible as the traffickers from Mexico for the methamphetamine flowing onto our streets. This nine year sentence shows that there are serious consequences for getting involved in any aspect of the drug game.”
In 2018, Passement, along with Alfredo Herrera and Domingo Aguirre, was charged with violating federal money laundering and drug conspiracy statutes. Herrera was the owner and operator of Casa Herrera, a local money remitter business that was used to launder illegal drug proceeds.
In his plea agreement, Passement admitted that from December 2015 to September 2018 he received money and sent it back to the Mexican source of supply using local money remitter businesses, including Casa Herrera. At Casa Herrera, the three men sent drug proceeds to Felix Ordaz-Miranda in Mexico, using nominee names. Ordaz-Miranda would also provide nominee names to use to list as the recipients of the wire transfers. The “fake” names were used in order to conceal the true nature of the transactions and to further the drug conspiracy by paying money owed to the source of supply. Passement stated that he generated the wire transfers under the direction of Herrera and Aguirre.
Passement further admitted that he knowingly conspired to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute 500 grams or more of a methamphetamine. Specifically, Passement received bulk quantities of methamphetamine from Ordaz-Miranda and distributed the drug to individuals identified by him throughout Tulsa and the surrounding areas.
The Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation, titled Operation Ripped Ice, involved the Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, and Tulsa Police Department. Twenty-two individuals were charged as a result of the operation. Domingo Aguirre was convicted and sentenced to 44 months in federal prison. Alfredo Herrera passed away during the prosecution.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel-lyn A. McCormick prosecuted the case. AUSA McCormick serves as the lead attorney for the United States Attorney’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces.