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United States of America v. Gibran Rodriguez-Mejia
Case Number: 3:15-cr-00950-BEN-9
Judge: Mitchell D. Dembin
Court: United States District Court for the Southern District of California (San Diego County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: Lawrence A Casper
Defendant's Attorney: Paul D Turner
San Diego, CA - Fifth Defendant Pleads Guilty to Laundering Millions of Dollars of Drug Proceeds for Sinaloa Cartel
Gibran Rodriguez-Mejia of Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico, pleaded guilty to international money laundering in connection with his operation of a currency exchange house that received the proceeds of multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin smuggled into the United States by the Sinaloa Cartel. Rodriguez, who was extradited from Mexico to San Diego in September 2018, is the fifth defendant in this case to enter a guilty plea.
Through his plea agreement, Rodriguez admitted to laundering $3.5 million in drug proceeds. He coordinated with couriers, primarily located in Southern California, who smuggled the bulk U.S. currency from the United States to Mexico. Rodriguez also admitted that he arranged for currency to be smuggled to an exchange house in Tijuana, Mexico owned and operated by co-defendant Cesar Hernandez-Martinez, who also recently entered a guilty plea in the case. After the money was converted to Mexican pesos, Mejia provided financial accounts in Mexico into which the money was deposited for the benefit of the Mexican-based cartel drug traffickers.
In addition to the five defendants in this case, approximately twenty other individuals have entered guilty pleas and been sentenced previously in related cases.
Rodriguez pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mitchell D. Dembin. Rodriguez faces up to 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $7 million (twice the value of the funds involved). Three other defendants have previously entered guilty pleas in this case and been sentenced (Omar Ayon-Diaz; Osvaldo Contreras-Arriaga; and Joel Acedo-Ojeda) and another (Cesar Hernandez-Martinez) entered his guilty plea on April 4, 2019 and will be sentenced on July 8, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. before Judge Benitez.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcementís Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) San Diego Field Office conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lawrence A. Casper of the Southern District of California and Senior Trial Counsel Mark A. Irish of the Criminal Divisionís Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section prosecuted the case. The Justice Departmentís Office of International Affairs provided significant support with the defendantís extradition. The U.S. Attorneyís Office is working together in this matter with the Criminal Divisionís Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section.
DEFENDANT Case Number 15-cr-950
Gibran Rodriguez-Mejia Age: 31 Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico
SUMMARY OF CHARGE
Conspiracy to Commit International Money Laundering, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C., Sec. 1956(a)(2)(B)(i) and (h).
Maximum Penalties: Twenty years in prison; $500,000 fine or twice the value of the funds involved.
Prior Guilty Pleas and Sentences
Joel Acedo-Ojeda: Pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Commit International Money Laundering, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C., Sec. 1956(a)(2)(B)(i) and (h); sentenced to 135 months custody and $20,000 fine.
Omar Ayon-Diaz: Pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Commit International Money Laundering, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C., Sec. 1956(a)(2)(B)(i) and (h); sentenced to 120 months custody and $15,000 fine.
Osvaldo Contreras-Arriaga: Pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to import cocaine, in violation of Title 21, U.S.C., Secs. 952, 960 and 963; sentenced to 132 months custody and $1,000 fine.
Cesar Hernandez-Martinez: Pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Commit International Money Laundering, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C., Sec. 1956(a)(2)(B)(i) and (h); will be sentenced on July 8, 2019.
Homeland Security Investigations
Outcome: 04/18/2019 246 Minute Entry for proceedings held before Magistrate Judge Mitchell D. Dembin: Change of Plea Hearing as to Gibran Rodriguez-Mejia held on 4/18/2019. Plea Tendered by Gibran Rodriguez-Mejia Guilty on count 1 of the 3rd Superseding Indictment. Excludable(s) started as to Gibran Rodriguez-Mejia: XK (proposed plea agreement): 4/18/19-7/8/19. PSR Ordered; Sentence With PSR set for 7/8/2019 09:00 AM before Judge Roger T. Benitez. Motion Hearing/Trial Setting set for 4/22/2019 is hereby vacated.(Interpreter MariaPaz Sandoval). (CD# 4/18/2019 MDD: 213-236). (Plaintiff Attorney Lawrence Casper, AUSA). (Defendant Attorney Paul Turner, CJA). (dls) (Entered: 04/18/2019)