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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Utah

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, December 19, 2016

Two Indicted On Conspiracy To Commit Money Laundering; Charges Allege They Laundered Money For Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations

SALT LAKE CITY – A federal grand jury returned an indictment last week charging two Salt Lake City women with conspiracy to commit money laundering.  The charges allege they conspired to launder drug proceeds for Mexican drug trafficking organizations from Utah to Mexico. The indictment, returned Wednesday, was unsealed Friday afternoon.

Charged in the indictment are Rosa Rodiguez, age 41, and her sister, Yadira Rodriquez, age 35, both of Salt Lake City.  According to a complaint filed in the case, Rosa Rodriguez owns and operates two money services businesses in Utah.  These businesses provide money transfer services from Utah to Mexico and other areas. One business, Happy Travel, is located in West Valley City. Rosa Rodriguez is the primary operator of this location, the complaint alleges. The second business, Happy Travel 2, is located in Salt Lake City. Yadira Rodriguez is the primary operator of this location.

The two were arrested last week. A detention hearing for Rosa Rodriguez is scheduled for Dec. 22, 2016, at 2:15 p.m. in Magistrate Judge Evelyn J. Furse’s courtroom. Yadira Rodriguez has been released on conditions.

According to the indictment, those who own and operate money services businesses are subject to various laws and regulations that govern, among other things, record keeping, filing reports on certain transactions, and ensuring anti-money laundering compliance.

Charges allege that the Rodriguez sisters used their money service businesses to send money transfers for the drug trafficking organizations and took steps to conceal and disguise the source and ownership of the illegal proceeds. The charges allege they split up money transfer amounts to avoid having to produce or provide identification information for money transfers in an attempt to conceal and disguise the source and ownership of the illegal proceeds. The charges also allege the pair concealed the traffickers’ identity by falsifying sender information on the money transfers. Investigators believe that by structuring transactions and sending money under fictitious names, the defendants laundered an estimated $1 million for Mexican drug trafficking organizations.

The case is being investigated by the DEA Metro Narcotics Task Force, IRS-Criminal Investigation and the U.S. Marshals Service.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Component(s): 
Updated December 19, 2016