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Press Release

California Man Pleads Guilty For His Role In A Drug Trafficking Ring Linked To A Mexican Drug Cartel

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of New York

CONTACT:      Barbara Burns
PHONE:         (716) 843-5817
FAX:            (716) 551-3051

BUFFALO, N.Y.-Acting U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Enrique Munoz, 53, of California, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more or cocaine, and money laundering conspiracy before U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford. The charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life and a $10,000,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Adler, who is handling the case, stated that between July 2012, and December 2014, the defendant conspired with others to illegally distribute narcotics. Specifically, Munoz managed bank accounts that were used to assist in the money laundering of the proceeds of drug transactions; he made structured deposits in other bank accounts with the proceeds of drug transactions; and 3) he received and sent packages containing kilograms of cocaine. The defendant obtained multiple kilograms of cocaine that were then distributed in cities including Buffalo and Chicago, IL. 

In December 2014, Munoz was arrested in Buffalo with co-conspirators. The defendant had $69,320 in a black shoulder bag at that time. The defendant also had paperwork for a receipt for a hotel room from a co-conspirator, paperwork for a rental car utilized by Munoz and his co-conspirators, and a list of several Bank of America accounts into which structured deposits were made.

A total of seven defendants have been indicted in this sophisticated drug trafficking organization with ties to a Mexican drug cartel operating out of the Los Angeles, California area. The organization shipped drugs to various states including New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Colorado, and Ohio. To date, three defendants have been convicted. Charges are pending against the remaining defendants. The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

The plea is the culmination of an investigation on the part of the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge James J. Hunt, New York Field Division; Immigration and Custom Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Kevin Kelly; and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations Division, under the direction of James D. Robnett, Special Agent-in-Charge, New York Field Office. Additional assistance was provided by ICE-HSI in Los Angeles, California.

Sentencing is scheduled for February 8, 2018, at 4:00 p.m. before Judge Wolford.

Updated November 9, 2017