Arizona man sentenced to 70 months in prison for laundering money and seeking to deliver ammunition to drug trafficking organizations in Mexico
Seattle – A 46-year-old Marysville, Washington woman, who co-owned a Lake Stevens, Washington restaurant used for drug trafficking, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to ten years in prison for distributing methamphetamine, heroin, and fentanyl, announced U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. Laura Rodriguez-Moreno has been in custody since she and five coconspirators were arrested on September 1, 2020. At today’s sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour said, Rodriguez-Moreno had a leadership role in a large drug trafficking ring. “But more important than any other factor was that she involved her teen-age son in drug dealing, just days after he had been arrested” with a load of fentanyl pills, Judge Coughenour said.
“Ms. Rodriguez-Moreno was distributing pound quantities of methamphetamine and thousands of fentanyl pills. But what is most shocking is that she had her teen-age son engaging in drug distribution at her direction,” said U.S. Attorney Brown. “She and her husband put their restaurant and the security of their five children at risk when they became drug traffickers. Now those children are without their parents for significant time.”
“Ms. Rodriguez-Moreno is being held accountable not only for the distribution of large quantities of illegal and deadly narcotics, but also for utilizing her teenage son to further her drug distribution schemes,” said Jacob D. Galvan, Acting Special Agent in Charge, DEA Seattle Field Division. “We will continue to work with our partners to protect our communities and save lives by removing these individuals.”
According to records filed in the case, Rodriguez-Moreno and her husband Jose Morales-Flores, 39, were part of a wide-ranging drug trafficking conspiracy. Members of the conspiracy distributed fentanyl, meth, and heroin in Seattle and North Puget Sound communities. In
her plea agreement, Rodriguez-Moreno admits distributing more than 16 kilos of methamphetamine and nearly a kilo of fentanyl pills. When law enforcement arrested Rodriguez-Moreno and her associates, they seized another 17 kilos of meth, nearly two kilos of heroin, thousands of fentanyl pills, three firearms, and more than $100,000 cash.
Law enforcement observed and listened as Rodriguez-Moreno directed her son to deliver ten pounds of methamphetamine to a customer parked at her restaurant, Fuente de Café, just days after her son had been arrested with a large amount of fentanyl pills. In the months that followed, she and her husband would take their son to drug meetings and have him deliver the drugs for them.
Prosecutors noted in their sentencing memo that Rodriguez-Moreno did not suffer from clouded judgement due to drug addiction. Her motivation was money. “Moreover, Rodriguez-Moreno knew what these drugs would do to other families, other kids. But she was blinded by greed and only focused on how distributing these drugs would help her and her family, not the pain and suffering her actions would cause others, or even her own children if caught,” Assistant United States Attorney C. Andrew Colasurdo wrote in his sentencing memo.
On October 19, 2021, Rodriguez-Moreno’s husband, Jose Morales-Flores, was sentenced to ten years in prison. However, instead of reporting to prison he cut off his GPS monitoring bracelet and became a fugitive. He is still being sought by law enforcement.
This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.
The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Snohomish Regional Drug Task Force, Seattle Police Department, FBI and the Skagit Interlocal Drug Enforcement Unit. The investigation was supported by the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA).
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys C. Andrew Colasurdo and Stephen Hobbs.
Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Communications Director Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@usdoj.gov.