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Press Release

Brownsville Man Pleads Guilty To Money Laundering Conspiracy

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas

BROWNSVILLE, Texas – Oscar J. Aguilar, 37, a Mexican citizen legally residing in Brownsville, has entered a guilty plea to conspiring to commit international money laundering, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson along with Janice Ayala, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in San Antonio. 

Aguilar has admitted to recruiting nine others, some of whom were family members, to open bank accounts at Bank of America in Brownsville. Later, co-conspirators in Florida would deposit money from narcotics sales into the accounts. Aguilar’s recruits withdrew the money in amounts under the $10,000 reporting requirement and would give that money to Aguilar or other co-conspirators. The recruits were paid for moving the money through their bank accounts.

After Aguilar received the money, he facilitated its crossing from Brownsville to Matamoros, Mexico, where it was delivered to the Gulf Cartel.

From September 2008 through November 2012, the conspirators moved approximately $1,893,170 through nine bank accounts, with nearly $1.5 million from September 2011 through November 2012 alone.

“HSI Special Agents often investigate complex financial schemes in order to disrupt and dismantle the ongoing operations of transnational criminal organization,” said Ayala. “These investigations deprive the organizations from enjoying the benefits of these illicit proceeds, and prevent them from furthering the efforts of the ongoing criminal enterprise. We will continue to aggressively investigate fraudulent financial schemes that put in jeopardy the integrity of our financial system.”

Nine others have been convicted in relation to this case. With the exception of Francisco Jesus Arambul-Cortez, who also pleaded to conspiracy to commit International money laundering, the eight others entered guilty pleas to operating an unlicensed money transmitting business.

Aguilar entered his plea today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald G. Morgan. He will remain in custody pending his sentencing hearing, set for Aug. 18, 2014, before U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen. At that time, he faces up to 20 years in prison and a possible fine of $500,000. 

This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Karen Betancourt and Joseph Leonard.

Updated April 30, 2015