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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 22, 2016

Six Individuals Charged For Their Roles In International Money Laundering And Drug Trafficking Conspiracies

Charged Crimes Involved Laundering Of Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars In Narcotics Proceeds Using A Variety Of Methods, Through The United States, Italy, Hong Kong, And Mexico, As Well As Trafficking Hundreds Of Kilograms Of Cocaine And Heroin

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and John S. Comer, Special Agent in Charge of the Los Angeles Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), announced today an Indictment charging ALEJANDRO JAVIER RODRIGUEZ-JIMENEZ, JESUS RODRIGUEZ-JIMENEZ, ELOY CARDENAS-MORENO, SERGIO URBINA, LEOBARDO TAMEZ, and MARCO CORONADO with conspiring to commit money laundering.  ALEJANDRO JAVIER RORDIGUEZ-JIMENEZ, JESUS RODRIGUEZ-JIMENEZ, ELOY CARDENAS-MORENO, and MARCO CORONADO were also charged with conspiring to distribute narcotics.  ALEJANDRO JAVIER RODRIGUEZ-JIMENEZ, JESUS RODRIUGUEZ-JIMENEZ, and MARCO CORONADO were further charged with substantive money laundering counts.  JESUS RODRIGUEZ-JIMENEZ, SERGIO URBINA, LEOBARDO TAMEZ, and MARCO CORONADO were all previously arrested on criminal complaints in, respectively, Las Vegas; Orlando; McAllen, Texas; and Houston, Texas.  The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Katherine B. Forrest.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “As alleged, these defendants established a shadow banking system, with stash houses in a number of American cities where co-conspirators received proceeds of hundreds of kilograms of cocaine and heroin, and then laundered them through accounts in North and Central America, Europe, and Asia.  This Office, along with all of our federal partners, is committed to stanching the flow of illegal drugs into the United States and shutting down the financial networks that fuel the trade.”

DEA SAC John S. Comer said, “The complexity and scale of operations allegedly consummated by this money laundering organization are immense – hundreds of millions of drug dollars remitted across six continents on behalf of the World’s most violent drug cartels.  The investigation led by our office in Las Vegas reflects DEA’s resolve and reach; working with our international, state and local partners, we will cripple these global organizations no matter where they’re based.”

According to the allegations in the Indictment[1], the previously filed criminal complaints against the defendants, and statements made in Court:

The Investigation

Since July 2013, the DEA has been investigating an international drug trafficking and money laundering organization (the “Organization”) 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.   The Organization has ties to Panama, Mexico, Italy, Spain, and the United States, among other locations, and its members are believed to include each of the defendants.

This prosecution is connected to the prosecution of Roberto Ponce-Rocha, a large-scale international narcotics trafficker based in Central and South America, who used various methods, including commercial shipments, drivers, and couriers to move narcotics around the world, and to import narcotics into the United States.  Ponce-Rocha is among four individuals charged in a superseding indictment captioned United States v. Ponce-Rocha, 16 Cr. 30 (JMF) unsealed in the Southern District of New York on May 25, 2016.

 ALEJANDRO JAVIER RODRIGUEZ-JIMENEZ ran a number of business in Las Vegas, Nevada, including a LED screens business that he used as a front to facilitate money laundering transactions and to ship narcotics in connection with Ponce-Rocha.  Together with his brother, JESUS RODRIGUEZ-JIMENEZ, who was based in Monterrey, Mexico, ALEJANDRO JAVIER RODRIGUEZ-JIMENEZ directed their associates, including ELOY CARDENAS-MORENO, to set up stash houses in various cities throughout the United States, including Atlanta and Philadelphia, in order to receive drug proceeds from criminal clients who wanted those proceeds funneled into the international banking system.  MARCO CORONADO, SERGIO URBINA, and LEOBARDO TAMEZ each participated in cash money pick-ups in, among other places, New York City and Atlanta, receiving cash from narcotics traffickers and, as directed by the RODRIGUEZ-JIMENEZ brothers, bringing that cash to co-conspirators with directions to wire it to shell accounts in Mexico, Hong Kong, and Italy, among other places.

 In this way, the Organization laundered hundreds of millions of dollars through the international banking system, and facilitated the distribution of hundreds of kilograms of cocaine and heroin, among other narcotics.

*                *                *

A chart containing the charges and maximum penalties for the defendants is attached.                                                                                         

Mr. Bharara praised the DEA and the Las Vegas Office of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Bharara also expressed his appreciation to La Comisión Nacional de Seguridad – Policía Federal, and La Unidad de Inteligencia Financiera, Mexican law enforcement agencies who assisted in the investigation.

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

The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

United States v. Rodriguez-Jimenez, Et al.

COUNT(S)

  CHARGE                      

DEFENDANT(S)

MAXIMUM PENALTIES[2]

 

ONE

 

Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering

 

Alejandro Javier Rodriguez-Jimenez,

Jesus Rodriguez-Jimenez,

Eloy Cardenas-Moreno,

Sergio Urbina,

Leonardo Tamez,

Marco Coronado

 

 

20 years in prison; fine of the greatest of $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction

 

 

TWO

 

 

 

Conspiracy to Distribute Narcotics

 

 

Alejandro Javier Rodriguez-Jimenez,

Jesus Rodriguez-Jimenez,

Eloy Cardenas-Moreno,

Marco Coronado

 

 

 

Life in prison; with a ten-year mandatory minimum prison sentence; $10,000,000 fine

 

 

THREE AND FOUR

 

Money Laundering

 

Alejandro Javier Rodriguez-Jimenez,

Jesus Rodriguez-Jimenez,

Marco Coronado

 

 

 

20 years in prison; fine of the greatest of $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction

 

 

FIVE THROUGH SEVEN

 

Money Laundering

 

Jesus Rodriguez-Jimenez, Marco Coronado

 

 

 

20 years in prison; fine of the greatest of $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction

 

 

 

[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Indictment, and the description of the Indictment set forth herein, constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

[2] The statutory maximum penalties are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencings of the defendants would be determined by the Court.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 
16-254
Updated September 22, 2016