28 Charged in Cartel Money Laundering Scheme
A Mexican cartel boss and 27 coconspirators have been charged with laundering more than $10 million in drug proceeds through a local clothing retailer, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox.
In a 38-count superseding indictment unsealed today, a federal grand jury charged 28 individuals connected to Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion – one of Mexico’s most violent and powerful drug cartels – with conspiracy to launder monetary instruments and other financial, drug, and gun crimes, including conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, conspiracy to distribute heroin, and possession of a firearm by an undocumented alien.
“Drug cartels like CJNG wreak havoc across the globe, driving the spread of deadly drugs like meth and heroin,” said U.S. Attorney Nealy Cox. “We’re committed to tracking the money and disrupting these organizations by attacking their bottom line. By striking both the money and the drugs, we can more effectively impact the organization.”
“Addiction to drugs has many different faces. In this instance, the addiction to money and greed has met its consequence”, said Eduardo A. Chávez, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Dallas Field Division. “Despite CJNG’s efforts to disguise their illegal activities into our North Texas communities, the DEA will seek to starve it of every last drug dollar and achieve justice for all those involved.”
According to court documents, Jose Valdovinos Jimenez, a plaza boss who goes by “La Roca” or “The Rock,” allegedly conspired with his codefendants to smuggle hundreds of kilograms of methamphetamine and heroin across the Mexican border, distribute the drugs within the United States, launder the proceeds, and then transfer the money back to CJNG leaders.
In order to insulate himself from law enforcement activity and limit losses from law enforcement raids, Mr. Jimenez and other leaders of CJNG implemented a compartmentalized infrastructure, relying on couriers to smuggle the drugs across the border, recrystallization laboratories to purify drugs for sale, fortified stash houses to store the drugs before distribution, and a multi-level dealer network to handle the cash.
At Mr. Jimenez’s direction, mid- and upper-level dealers transported drug proceeds to Yoli’s Western Wear, a clothing retailer located on Buckner Boulevard in Dallas. The 23-year-old manager of Yoli’s, Ivan Noe Valerio, and his family members then counted the money and separated it into thousands of transactions, sending it through a money remitter back to CJNG in Mexico.
An indictment is merely an allegation of criminal conduct, not evidence. Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
If convicted, Mr. Jimenez and Mr. Valero face life in federal prison.
Other defendants charged in the scheme include:
- Teodoro Valerio Perez (Valerio’s father)
- Yolanda Mercado Valerio (Valerio’s mother)
- Iris Yaneli Valerio (Valerio’s sister)
- Laurentino DelaCruz, aka “Tino,” (alleged meth dealer)
- Carlo LNU, aka “Gordo,” (alleged wire transactions handler)
- Jesus Manuel Juarez Aguilar, aka “Chucho,” (alleged wire transactions handler)
- Cuauhtemoc Gonzalez Del Rio (alleged wire transactions handler)
- Jonathan Rene Jacobo Mata
- Oscar Mario Flores Daza
- Antonio Pena, Jr.
- Eduardo Galdean Gress (alleged stash house distributor)
- Lorenzo Piedra Chavez (alleged heroin dealer)
- Blanca Flor Hernandez
- Aniano Chavez Avila (alleged stash house distributor)
- Raul Ceja Barajas (alleged laboratory operator)
- Alejandro Garcia Lopez (alleged laboratory operator)
- Joel Guillermo Torres (alleged drug courier)
- Roberto Macias (alleged stash house distributor)
- Alexander Alvarez (alleged stash house distributor)
- Edgar Eduardo Vicente Miranda (alleged meth dealer)
- Manuel Garcia Gomez (alleged laboratory operator)
- Jorge Humberto Larios Velazco (alleged laboratory operator)
- Arthur Ernest Rubalcaba (alleged stash house distributor)
- Jose Alfredo Penalozo Perdomo
- Carlos Michael Hernandez (alleged meth dealer)
- Hobedt Moreno (alleged meth dealer)
During the course of this investigation, agents seized approximately 700 kilograms of methamphetamine, approximately 80 kilograms of heroin, and approximately $500,000 in drug proceeds. Dozens of the charged defendants have already been arrested.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Dallas Field Division, the Texas Department of Public Security, the U.S. Marshals Service, and ICE Enforcement & Removal Operations conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Midlothian Police Department and Ellis County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys PJ Meitl and Travis Elder are prosecuting the case.