Romanian Citizens Arrested and Charged with Laundering $1.4 Million in Proceeds from Jewelry Thefts and Covid Fraud
NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – March 8, 2023
SAN DIEGO – A narcotrafficker pleaded guilty today to international cocaine trafficking conspiracy.
According to court documents, beginning in the 1980s through 2017, Raul Flores-Hernandez, aka El Tio, 70, led a drug-trafficking organization based in Mexico’s Jalisco State that trafficked cocaine from South America to Mexico for subsequent importation into the United States. He leveraged his business connections to coordinate the transportation of substantial quantities of cocaine from Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia to ports in Mexico, from which they were transported by land to and across the U.S. border.
In July 2017, Mexican authorities arrested Flores-Hernandez at the request of the United States. He was extradited from Mexico to the United States in February 2021.
Flores-Hernandez pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, knowing and intending that it would be imported into the United States. He is scheduled to be sentenced on June 14 and faces a maximum penalty of life in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) supported this case.
The DEA Los Angeles and San Diego Field Divisions, FBI Washington Field Office, and HSI San Diego Field Office are investigating the case. Customs and Border Protection in San Diego provided substantial assistance.
The Justice Department thanks Mexican authorities for their assistance in securing the arrest and extradition of Flores-Hernandez.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle Martin for the Southern District of California, Acting Deputy Chief Katharine Wagner and Trial Attorney Melanie Alsworth of the Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section are prosecuting the case. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs provided significant assistance.
DEFENDANT Case Number 17CR0051 (BAH)
Raul Flores-Hernandez Age: 70 Guadalajara, MX
SUMMARY OF CHARGES
International Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances – 21 U.S.C. §§ 959(a), 960(a)(3), 960(b)(1), and 963
Maximum penalty: Life in Prison and $10 million fine
Homeland Security Investigations
Drug Enforcement Administration
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Customs and Border Protection
This case is the result of ongoing efforts by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a partnership that brings together the combined expertise and unique abilities of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, dismantle and prosecute high-level members of drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations and enterprises.
Assistant U. S. Attorney Kyle Martin (619) 546-7726