Local banker sent to prison for money laundering conspiracy
BROWNSVILLE, Texas – A former Wells Fargo branch manager has been ordered to federal prison for helping a drug trafficking ring launder their money through his bank, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.
Stephen Roland Reyna, 36, pleaded guilty Sept. 1, 2021.
Today, U.S. District Judge Rolando Rivera ordered Reyna to serve 20 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by 16 months of supervised release with home detention. At the hearing, the court Reyna was given and held a position of trust with the bank, of which he took advantage. In handing down the sentence, the court noted the amount of money Reyna laundered and the sequence of events in which he participated.
“If you help drug traffickers ‘clean’ their money, you will be prosecuted,” said Hamdani. “It is especially disappointing that a bank manager for Wells Fargo chose to violate his position of trust for easy money, money from organizations that are destroying our communities.”
Reyna was the manager of a Wells Fargo branch in Harlingen. While serving in that position and utilizing his position and knowledge of the banking industry, Reyna assisted a drug trafficking organization to launder $410,000 in drug sale proceeds.
The organization would transport multi-kilogram cocaine loads from the Rio Grande Valley to northern states. Upon successful delivery, thousands of dollars in drug proceeds would then be dispersed through multiple Wells Fargo bank accounts in the northern states.
Reyna would coordinate with multiple co-conspirators in the Rio Grande Valley to launder the funds through their accounts at Wells Fargo. Reyna ensured the proceeds were successfully withdrawn from his branch in Harlingen.
Co-conspirators would frequently pay Reyna in cash right after he helped them get their drug proceeds out of the bank.
Reyna ultimately admitted he suspected the funds were from illegal activity, including narcotics trafficking.
Reyna was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The Drug Enforcement Administration conducted the investigation with assistance from the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office and Wells Fargo. Assistant U.S. Attorneys David A. Lindenmuth and Karen Betancourt prosecuted the case.