20 people charged in a Colombian drug-related money laundering organization | USAO-MA


UPDATE: This press release was revised on May 25, 2022 to reflect that a 20e (REDACTED) was in the indictment and that the third accused had been taken into custody in Jamaica.


BOSTON – More than a dozen individuals located in Colombia, Jamaica and Florida have been charged in Boston, Massachusetts, for their alleged involvement in a sophisticated international money laundering organization that laundered more than 6 million of drug trafficking proceeds from Colombian cartels via the United States. banking systems of the United States, the Caribbean and Europe.

$1 million was seized from corporate bank accounts and other investigative activity. Nearly 3,000 kilograms of cocaine – with a street value of more than $90 million – have reportedly been traced to the money laundering organisation. This includes approximately 1,193 kilograms of cocaine seized at sea, 60 miles south of Jamaica, in July 2019, as well as 1,555 kilograms of cocaine seized from nine scrap containers at the port of Buenaventura, Colombia, in March 2019.

This morning, three defendants were arrested in Florida and will make a first appearance in federal court in the Southern District of Florida at a later date. Three defendants were also arrested today in Jamaica at the request of the United States. On April 26, 2022, 12 defendants were arrested in Colombia by local authorities at the request of the United States and one defendant was arrested in Orlando, Florida. The United States will seek the extradition of the Colombian and Jamaican defendants to the District of Massachusetts. .

According to the charging documents, in or around October 2016, law enforcement began an investigation into a sophisticated money laundering organization located primarily in Barranquilla, Colombia. During an extensive five-year investigation, the organization allegedly laundered more than $6 million in drug proceeds through intermediary banks in the United States, including banks in Massachusetts, as well as additional proceeds through Caribbean and European banks using the Colombian black market. Peso Stock Exchange (BMPE). It is alleged that by using the BMPE, the defendants conspired to conceal drug trafficking activities and law enforcement proceeds, as well as to evade foreign exchange requirements in the United States and Colombia through of the illegal exchange process. As part of the conspiracy, the defendants would have held roles and responsibilities within the money laundering organization depending on the needs and opportunities of the scheme, such as drug suppliers, peso brokers, couriers of money and business owners/buyers of dollars.

According to the charging documents, through the BMPE, Colombian drug trafficking organizations whose income is generated in the United States use third parties – usually called “peso brokers” who are also based in Colombia – who accept to exchange Colombian pesos that they control for the drug supplier’s dollar product. Peso brokers then use money couriers in the United States and elsewhere to physically secure the drug proceeds, often in suitcases or bags on the street, and transfer the proceeds into the United States banking system. To avoid detection, peso brokers deposit drug proceeds into bank accounts in the names of companies or individuals intended to appear as legitimate business activity, or through multiple small deposits into different bank accounts which are then consolidated into larger accounts. As a result, Colombian peso brokers control a pool of drug derivatives in US bank accounts. These dollar products are then purchased by individuals or businesses in Colombia seeking to exchange pesos for United States dollars at a favorable exchange rate and in a manner that avoids currency exchange and income reporting requirements. . Dollar drug proceeds are transferred at the direction of the purchaser and often end up in the bank accounts of individuals or businesses that do not appear to be directly involved in drug trafficking crimes.

The charges of money laundering conspiracy and laundering monetary instruments each carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $500,000, or double the amount involved, whichever is greater. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based on US sentencing guidelines and the laws that govern sentencing in a criminal case.

United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins; Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Boston Field Division; Joleen D. Simpson, special agent in charge of criminal investigations for the Internal Revenue Service in Boston; Luz Angela Bahamon Flórez, Criminal Finance Delegate of the Colombian Attorney General’s Office; Ricardo Augusto Alarcon Campos, Major General of the Colombian National Police, Anti-Narcotics Directorate; Jervis Moore, Chief of the Jamaica Police Narcotics Division; and Colonel Christopher Mason, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, made the announcement today. The Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs and Legal Attachés from the Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Section (NDDS) of the Criminal Division in Bogotá, Colombia, provided significant assistance in securing arrests in Colombia and Jamaica. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jared C. Dolan and Alathea E. Porter of Rollins’ Narcotics and Money Laundering Unit are prosecuting the case.

This effort is part of an operation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OECDTF). The OECDTF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OECDTF program is available at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.

The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by a court.

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Addendum

The following defendants have been charged:

Respondent

Alleged role

1

Argiro De Jesus Velasquez-Velasquez, aka “El Viejo”

Drug supplier (Colombia)

2

José Fernando Sanchez-Villanueva, aka “Picapiedra”

Drug supplier (Colombia)

3

Oscar Ivan Rodriguez-Camargo, aka “El Mono”

Peso Broker (Colombia)

4

Willian Faustino Acosta-Calderin

Business Owner (Colombia)

5

Manuel Calderin-Calderin

Business Owner (Colombia)

6

German Millan-Padilla

Peso Broker (Colombia)

seven

Abdul Mauricio Harb-Gomez

Peso Broker (Colombia)

8

Andres Rached Farah, aka “Don Andres”, aka “El Turco”

Peso Broker (Colombia)

9

Fernando Carlos Pertuz-Herrera

Silver Courser (Colombia)

ten

Yimmy Rafael Sanchez-Jimenez, aka “El Chiqui”

Peso Broker (Colombia)

11

Jaime Humberto Mejia-Bencardino

Peso Broker (Colombia)

12

Jose Aliro Abril-Sequera

Business owner (Colombia)

13

Harold Antonio Ayala-Pinedo

Business Owner (Colombia)

14

St. Devon Anthony blanket

Silver Mail (Jamaica)

15

Denis Raymond Rowe

Silver Mail (Jamaica)

16

Seivright Donald Afflick

Silver Mail (Jamaica)

17

Robert HuetonColespring

Silver Messenger (Florida)

18

Kimali St. George Myers

Silver Messenger (Florida)

19

Dawnet Rochelle McGee

Silver Messenger (Florida)

20 REDACTED REDACTED
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