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Three Sentenced for Bulk Cash Smuggling

MAR 28 (HOUSTON) - Two Houston residents and one man from Brownsville have been sentenced to federal prison for their roles in the attempted smuggling of a large amount of U.S. currency announced Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Arabit, Houston Division and U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Victor Flores, 45, and José Juan Saavedra, 40, both of Houston, and Ricardo Cavazos-Garza, 51, of Brownsville, previously pleaded guilty in August 2015.

Today, U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal sentenced Flores, Cavazos and Saavedra to 30, 28 and 24 months, respectively. Each must also serve three years of supervised release following completion of their prison terms. As part of their respective plea agreements, they each agreed to forfeit their interest in two separately seized sums of cash totaling $838,460. 

The money had been derived from narcotics trafficking and was destined for Mexico.

On April 27, 2015, law enforcement seized $578,420 in Edinburg. The investigation revealed it had been loaded at a residence on the 6200 block of Foxleigh in Houston. The additional sum of $260,040 was seized from that same residence the following day, which was found packaged within a void between the bed and bed liner of a pickup truck parked in the garage.

The investigation concluded that the pickup and money intended ultimate destination was Mexico. All three men were taken into custody at the time of the seizure.

All defendants have been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

The charges are the result of a joint effort among Homeland Security Investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration, Harris County Sheriff’s Office and the Houston Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan Best is prosecuting the case.

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