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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Puerto Rico

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Siblings Indicted And Arrested For Money Laundering

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On May 9, 2018, a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging two siblings for money laundering, announced Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is in charge of the investigation with the collaboration of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD), and the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the Puerto Rico Department of Justice.

The indictment charges Fabián Padilla-Baez with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine from in or about 2013 through October 2014. The indictment also charges Fabián Padilla-Baez and his sister, Mabel Padilla-Baez, a Police of Puerto Rico Officer, with conspiracy to commit money laundering by agreeing with each other and other persons, to knowingly conduct a financial transaction affecting interstate and foreign commerce, which transaction involved the proceeds of dealing in controlled substances. 

On May 15, 2013, both defendants conducted and attempted to purchase a property located at Parcel C, Sector Barrio Contorno, Barrio Galateo, Toa Alta, PR. This transaction involved the proceeds of a specified unlawful activity, that is, the felonious manufacture, importation, receiving, concealment, buying, selling, or otherwise dealing in controlled substances, knowing that the transaction was designed in whole and in part to conceal and disguise the nature, location, source, ownership, and control of the proceeds of said specified unlawful activity; and knowing that the property involved in the financial transaction represented the proceeds of some form of unlawful activity.

“In their pursuit of personal gain, the siblings conspired to launder and conceal their drug trafficking proceeds,” said US Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez. “We commend our state and federal the law enforcement partners for their teamwork during this investigation, which resulted in today’s arrests.”

DEA’s Caribbean Division Assistant Special Agent in Charge Reinaldo López said: “Part of DEA’s mission is to bring to justice anyone who breaks the law, no matter who it is. It is always sad when is one of our own, but drug trafficking and money laundering organizations need to know that we’ll continue to track them down and bring them to justice. We are here and we will prevail.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney José Contreras is in charge of the prosecution of the case. If convicted, Fabián Padilla-Baez faces a minimum of ten years up to life in prison for count one and both defendants face up to 20 years in prison for the money laundering count. Indictments contain only charges and are not evidence of guilt. Defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The case was investigated as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force’s (OCDETF) Operation Lord of the Skies. The OCDETF program is a federal multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force that supplies supplemental federal funding to federal and state agencies involved in the identification, investigation, and prosecution of major drug trafficking organizations. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.

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Drug Trafficking
Financial Fraud
Updated May 16, 2018