Due to the lapse in appropriations, Department of Justice websites will not be regularly updated. The Department’s essential law enforcement and national security functions will continue. Please refer to the Department of Justice’s contingency plan for more information.

You are here

Justice News

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

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Brownsville Money Launderer And Former Fugitive Headed To Prison

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Leonel de La Torre, of Brownsville, has been ordered to prison for nearly 14 years for his involvement in a money laundering conspiracy operating in South Texas as well as other states, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.

De la Torre, 32, was one of six people originally charged in an indictment returned in July 2006. He had been a fugitive until his capture earlier this year. He subsequently pleaded guilty Feb. 27, 2013, to conspiracy to launder funds generated by narcotics trafficking.

Today, Senior U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack handed him a sentence of 165 months in federal prison which will be followed by a three-year-term of supervised release.

De la Torre admitted he helped lead a group of individuals who transported cocaine from South Texas for distribution in Houston as well as in Ohio and Michigan. He further acknowledged he helped lead the “laundering” of those funds generated by the cocaine business. The funds were moved through the banking system using both domestic and international means. The group invested in real estate to help conceal the illegal source of the funds.

He will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation and the U.S. Marshals Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jon Muschenheim as part of the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force.

Updated April 30, 2015