Money-laundering Scheme Led to Prison Sentence for SGV Man

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Three years were imposed today on a West Covina man who, over a two-year period, laundered drug money totaling more than $900,000 via a black market peso exchange scheme for drug traffickers based in Mexico.

Last November, Oscar Sanchez, 52, pleaded guilty to concealing money laundering, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Via the sale of goods shipped across international borders, drug traffickers who have US dollars as proceeds can convert them into Mexican pesos, a different currency.

Throughout 2017 and 2019, Sanchez was a launderer of drug money in downtown Los Angeles. Sanchez was told by drug traffickers in Mexico to deliver drug proceeds to his Mexican accomplices.

Traffickers contacted Sanchez and arranged money delivery using coded language. His business location in Los Angeles and another location where he received money were places where Sanchez met with the traffickers. Sanchez reported the amounts of money received to his coconspirators using coded words.

For concealing the source of the money, Sanchez's accomplices paid invoices at Los Angeles-based businesses and provided the money to third parties in the United States. Money laundering was completed when U.S.-based third parties directed payment to Mexican accomplices who then remitted it to them.

Prosecutors claim Sanchez laundered at least $914,641 in drug proceeds.

"By helping members of Mexican narcotics trafficking organizations move their proceeds to Mexico, Sanchez contributed to the cycle of drug use" In a sentencing memorandum filed in Los Angeles federal court, prosecutors wrote that the distribution of drugs caused substantial harm to communities in the United States. It is clear that Sanchez was deeply involved in the conduct of the case by using coded language in dozens of intercepted calls.

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