Brownsville Man Ordered to Prison in Money Laundering Conspiracy
BROWNSVILLE, Texas – Oscar J. Aguilar, 38, a Mexican citizen legally residing in Brownsville, has been sentenced to 14 years in federal prison for conspiring to commit international money laundering, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson along with Janice Ayala, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in San Antonio. Aguilar pleaded guilty May 16, 2014.
Today, U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen, handed Aguilar the 168-month sentence. He was further ordered to pay a $1,893,170 money judgment which represented the proceeds of drug smuggling that were laundered in the scheme. He is expected to face deportation proceedings following his release from prison.
“HSI special agents often investigate complex financial schemes in order to disrupt and dismantle the ongoing operations of transnational criminal organizations,” said Ayala. “These investigations deprive the organizations from enjoying the fruits of their illicit crimes while preventing them from furthering the ongoing criminal enterprise. HSI will continue to aggressively investigate schemes that jeopardize the integrity of our financial system.”
Aguilar admitted to recruiting nine others, some of whom were family members, to open bank accounts at Bank of America in Brownsville. Later, co-conspirators in Florida would deposit money from narcotics sales into the accounts. Aguilar’s recruits withdrew the money in amounts under the $10,000 reporting requirement and would give that money to Aguilar or other co-conspirators. The recruits were paid for moving the money through their bank accounts.
After Aguilar received the money, he facilitated its crossing from Brownsville to Matamoros, Mexico, where it was delivered to the Gulf Cartel.
From September 2008 through November 2012, the conspirators moved approximately $1,893,170 through nine bank accounts, with nearly $1.5 million from September 2011 through November 2012 alone.
Nine others have been convicted in relation to this case. With the exception of Francisco Jesus Arambul-Cortez, who also pleaded to conspiracy to commit International money laundering, the eight others entered guilty pleas to operating an unlicensed money transmitting business.
Aguilar will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Karen Betancourt and Joseph Leonard.