A 41-year-old Texas man was sentenced to 20 years in a federal prison on May 17 on drug trafficking and money laundering charges. The man was found guilty by a jury in December 2018. U.S. attorneys convinced the jury that the man was the financier of a drug distribution network and laundered the group's money through his luxury and exotic car dealerships in Houston.
Prosecutors say that the drugs were smuggled into the United States from Mexico and then distributed in cities across the country. The man is said to have laundered the money by taking large sums of cash from individuals he knew to be involved in the illegal narcotics business in exchange for luxury vehicles. He then fabricated invoices to hide the identities of the drug traffickers and dealers. According to court documents, he was involved in the scheme between 2013 and 2017.
The man is said to have helped the group to distribute hundreds of pounds of methamphetamine and launder millions of dollars. The investigation into the man's activities was conducted by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. Agencies that took part include the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, and the Houston Police Department.
When the evidence gathered by police is compelling and the chances of acquittal are slim, experienced criminal defense attorneys may encourage individuals accused of committing drug offenses to avoid a trial by entering into a negotiated plea agreement. The vast majority of criminal cases are settled in this manner, and prosecutors may offer significant concessions in return for a guilty plea even when their chances of prevailing in court are good.
Source: KFDM, "Houston Man Sentenced for Federal Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering Violations", U.S. Attorney's Office press release, May 17, 2019