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Los Angeles-Based Sinaloa Cartel Associates Charged in $50 Million Money-Laundering Operation

Los Angeles-Based Sinaloa Cartel Associates Charged in $50 Million Money-Laundering Operation

The Justice Department has made a significant announcement today, revealing a 10-count superseding indictment. This indictment charges associates based in Los Angeles with connections to Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel. The charges include conspiring with money-laundering groups associated with Chinese underground banking.

Their alleged purpose was to launder the proceeds from drug trafficking. Over $50 million in drug proceeds were exchanged between associates of the Sinaloa Cartel and Chinese underground money exchanges during the conspiracy.

After working closely with the Justice Department, law enforcement agencies in China and Mexico have notified United States authorities about the recent arrests of fugitives mentioned in the updated indictment. These individuals had fled the United States after being initially charged last year.

An extensive investigation into a complex conspiracy has led to a significant development. A new indictment, known as “Operation Fortune Runner,” has been unsealed, charging a group of 24 defendants with multiple serious offenses. These include aiding and abetting the distribution of cocaine and methamphetamine, laundering monetary instruments, and operating an unlicensed money-transmitting business.

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An indictment has been issued, claiming that a money laundering network associated with the Sinaloa Cartel operated in the Los Angeles area. The network allegedly collected and processed significant amounts of drug proceeds in U.S. currency, with the assistance of a money transmitting group based in San Gabriel Valley, California, which has connections to Chinese underground banking.

According to reports, they supposedly hid their earnings from drug trafficking and provided access to the funds for cartel members in Mexico and other locations.

The main defendant, Edgar Joel Martinez-Reyes, 45, from East Los Angeles, along with his accomplices, is accused of employing various tactics to conceal the origin of the funds. These tactics include trade-based money laundering, manipulating assets to evade federal financial reporting regulations, and investing in cryptocurrency.

Twenty individuals facing charges in the superseding indictment are scheduled to appear in the U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles for arraignment in the upcoming weeks. One of them has already been arraigned on Monday.

In the course of this investigation, authorities have confiscated around $5 million in drug profits, 302 pounds of cocaine, 92 pounds of methamphetamine, 3,000 Ecstasy pills, 44 pounds of psilocybin (magic mushrooms), a significant quantity of ketamine, three semi-automatic rifles with high-capacity magazines, and eight semi-automatic handguns.

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