Leader of International Money Laundering Organization Pleads Guilty
According to the Superseding Indictment and statements made during the guilty plea proceeding:
The DMG Organization
The Money Laundering Conspiracy
For example, in the fall of 2007, MURCIA GUZMÁN and co-defendant MARGARITA LEONOR PABON CASTRO approached another individual in Colombia and said that they had cash – apparently in U.S. dollars -- that they could not deposit into the Colombian banking system. MURCIA GUZMÁN and PABON CASTRO asked the individual to set up an account in the United States where these funds could be deposited. Thereafter, the individual opened an account at Merrill Lynch in the United States, under the name "Blackstone International Development" (the "Blackstone Account"). Neither MURCIA GUZMÁN nor PABON CASTRO was listed as owners of the Blackstone Account.
In March 2008, MURCIA GUZMÁN and PABON CASTRO told the same individual that they had provided $2.2 million worth of Colombian Pesos to co-defendant GERMAN ENRIQUE SERRANO-REYES in Colombia, and, in exchange, SERRANO-REYES had caused the nearly $2.2 million to be wired into the Blackstone Account through eighteen separate wire transfers. In May 2008, the U.S. Government seized about $2.2 million from the Blackstone Account pursuant to a court order. When MURCIA GUZMÁN was informed of the seizure of the Blackstone Account, MURCIA GUZMÁN told the individual who set up the account that he should not attempt to retrieve the contents of the account, and should not under any circumstances inform the authorities of MURCIA GUZMÁN's or PABON CASTRO's interest in the Blackstone Account.
Co-defendant WILLIAM SUÁREZ-SUÁREZ headed DMG's Colombian operations, including the attempted bribery of Colombian officials. In addition, SUÁREZ-SUÁREZ assisted MURCIA GUZMÁN and others in establishing hundreds of subsidiary and affiliated companies linked to DMG in countries including Colombia, Panama, and the United States.
MURCIA GUZMÁN and three co-defendants affiliated with DMG coordinated the pick-up and transportation of millions of dollars in narcotics proceeds in Mexico. The defendants concealed narcotics proceeds by investing them in legitimate real estate and limited liability companies in the United States. MURCIA GUZMÁN pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder the proceeds of narcotics trafficking, which carries a maximum sentence of twenty years in prison. SUÁREZ-SUÁREZ, PABON CASTRO, CEDIEL ROZO, BARANCHUK-RUEDA, and SERRANO-REYES have each previously pled guilty to the same charge. MURCIA GUZMÁN is scheduled to be sentenced before Judge PAULEY on February 2, 2011, at 2:00 p.m.
Mr. BHARARA praised the outstanding investigative work of the DEA's New York Drug Enforcement Task Force Group T-41-- which is comprised of agents and officers of the DEA, the New York City Police Department, and the New York State Police -- DEA's Bogota Country Office, DEA's Caracas Country Office, DEA's Caribbean Division, U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE"), and ICE's Caracas Country Office. Mr. BHARARA also thanked the Department of Justice's Office of International Affairs for their ongoing assistance in the investigation.
The prosecution is being handled by the Office's Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit, with the assistance of the Asset Forfeiture Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys BENJAMIN A. NAFTALIS, TELEMACHUS P. KASULIS, and MICHAEL D. LOCKARD are in charge of the prosecution.