Six Ordered to Prison for Laundering Millions for Drug Cartel
McALLEN, Texas – Four local residents and two Mexican nationals have been ordered to federal prison for their respective roles in laundering drug proceeds, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez.
Roosevelt Faz, 49, and Ted Cantu, 48, both of Donna; Sandra Haro, 37, of Edinburg; Maria Elena Bonilla-Torres, 41, of Puente de Camciclan, Nayarit, Mexico; Guillermo Trevino, 44, of Weslaco; and Erwin Rolando Contreras-Mata, 27, of Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico, all pleaded guilty Aug. 31, 2016.
U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez ordered Faz to serve a 140-month sentence, while Haro, Trevino and Bonilla-Torres will serve 130, 80 and 72 months in prison, respectively, at a hearing that concluded late yesterday. Judge Alvarez also ordered Faz, Trevino and Haro to pay a money forfeiture of $1,825,000. An additional $1,028,006 was seized during the investigation. The forfeiture order was the result of two days of testimony and evidence presented Oct. 24 and 31, 2016, which established that this group had been working together to launder drug proceeds since 2014 and that they had successfully laundered the additional $1,825,000. Also sentenced yesterday were Contreras-Mata and Cantu who were ordered to serve 46 and 38 months in prison, respectfully.
At the time of his plea, Faz admitted to coordinating the pick-up of drug proceeds in cities such as Atlanta, Georgia, and St. Louis, Missouri, and that he did so for Javier Reyna, another indicted defendant. Cantu and Trevino were truck drivers who admitted to picking up proceeds in Atlanta and St. Louis, respectively, at Faz’s direction. Contreras-Mata picked up drug proceeds from Faz on behalf of Javier Reyna. Bonilla-Torres handled the stash house in McAllen owned by Haro where the drug proceeds were stored prior to being smuggled into to Mexico, while Haro admitted to handling the communications between Reyna and the individual receiving the money in Mexico.
Cantu and Contreras-Mata each agreed to forfeit the money seized directly from them in the course of the investigation as part of their respective plea agreements.
Bonilla-Torres and Contreras-Mata have been and will remain in custody. Faz and Haro were taken into custody following the hearing yesterday, while Trevino and Cantu were permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
Javier Reyna, 44, of Penitas, is considered a fugitive and a warrant remains outstanding for his arrest. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to contact the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in McAllen at 956-992-8400.
The DEA, Texas Department of Public Safety, IRS-Criminal Investigation and Border Patrol conducted the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation dubbed Operation Emerald Chariots. Assistant U.S. Attorney Juan F. Alanis is prosecuting the case.