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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, September 11, 2017

Leader Of International Narcotics Money Laundering Business Pleads Guilty In Manhattan Federal Court

Jesus Rodriguez-Jimenez Laundered over $250 Million for Central American Drug Trafficking Organizations

Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that JESUS RODRIGUEZ-JIMENEZ pled guilty in Manhattan federal court before United States District Judge Katherine B. Forrest to money laundering and conspiracy offenses in relation to RODRIGUEZ-JIMENEZ’s leadership of an international money laundering business working on behalf of drug cartels in Mexico and Central America.  Through a web of front companies, shell bank accounts, and money couriers based in the United States and Europe, RODRIGUEZ-JIMENEZ successfully laundered in excess of $250 million in furtherance of those cartels’ narcotics trafficking activities. 

Under RODRIGUEZ-JIMENEZ’s plea agreement with this Office, he faces a stipulated Guidelines sentence of 30 years in prison under the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which is also the maximum potential sentence.  RODRIGUEZ-JIMENEZ is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Forrest later this year.

Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said: “As he admitted in Manhattan federal court today, Jesus Rodriguez-Jimenez led an international money laundering operation that handled the proceeds of cocaine and heroin trafficking by Mexican and Central American cartels.  Using front companies, sham bank accounts, and money drops in several U.S. cities, the Rodriguez-Jimenez organization laundered more than a quarter of a billion dollars in illegal drug trafficking proceeds.  Thanks to the efforts of the DEA and IRS, Rodriguez-Jimenez now awaits sentencing for his crimes.”

According to the charging and other documents filed in the case, as well as statements made during RODRIGUEZ-JIMENEZ’s guilty plea proceeding:

Since July 2013, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) has been investigating JESUS RODRIGUEZ-JIMENEZ’s international money laundering organization and its cartel clients, which together have been involved in trafficking hundreds of kilograms of cocaine and heroin, among other narcotics, and laundering narcotics proceeds through a variety of methods, including through one or more seemingly “legitimate” corporations under their control.  RODRIGUEZ-JIMENEZ and his organization have ties to Panama, Mexico, Italy, Spain, and the United States, among other locations.

RODRIGUEZ-JIMENEZ, as the leader of a network of front companies created in Mexico and Las Vegas, Nevada, among other places, controlled numerous sham bank accounts opened under the names of those businesses.  Using those fronts for cover, RODRIGUEZ-JIMENZ received large amounts of drug proceeds in the form of cash in the United States and elsewhere, deposited that cash into the sham bank accounts controlled by his organization, and transmitted that cash via a series of domestic and international wire transfers to members and associates of his cartel clients.  As part of his involvement in this laundering activity, RODRIGUEZ-JIMENEZ orchestrated the delivery of narcotics proceeds to money launderers in the United States, including through the delivery of hundreds of thousands of dollars in single-day “money drops” in New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, and Las Vegas.

RODRIGUEZ-JIMENZ and multiple other members of his organization were included in two Indictments filed in June and November 2016 – 16 Cr. 644 (KBF) – now before Judge Forrest, in which all of the defendants were charged with money laundering conspiracy for participation in RODRIGUEZ-JIMENEZ’s organization, and various of the defendants were also charged with participation in narcotics trafficking.    

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Acting U.S. Attorney Kim praised the outstanding work of the Las Vegas Division of the DEA and the Las Vegas Office of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, in the investigation of this case.

This case is being handled by this Office’s Money Laundering and Asset Forfeiture Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Andrew C. Adams and Noah Falk are in charge of the prosecution.

Press Release Number: 
17-290
Updated September 11, 2017