April 15, 2016
Contact: Erin Mulvey
Phone Number: (212) 337-3900
Member Of Alleged International Organization Of Money Launderers For The Largest Drug Cartels Extradited To The United States
Organization used Chinese banking system and trade-based money laundering scheme to launder over $5 billion
NEW YORK - Earlier today, Jhon Jairo Hincapie-Ramirez, a citizen of Colombia, was arraigned at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, New York, for his alleged role in an international money laundering organization that brokered financial transactions designed to conceal the source of illegal narcotics trafficking by using the Chinese and Hong Kong financial system and the shipment of counterfeit goods around the world to launder over $5 billion for drug cartels based in Mexico and Colombia. Hincapie-Ramirez was arrested in Colombia in August 2015, on a provisional arrest warrant issued from the Eastern District of New York, and was extradited to the United States on April 14, 2016.
The arraignment was announced by Robert L. Capers, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York and James J. Hunt, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’(DEA) New York Division. As alleged in the superseding indictment, the investigation determined that from approximately January 1, 2004 through December 31, 2014, members of the organization conspired to carryout trade-based money laundering activities in China, Colombia, Panama, the United States, Spain, Ecuador, Venezuela, and elsewhere. The group was led by Colombian nationals based in Guangzhou, (the Guangzhou Enterprise). The Guangzhou Enterprise laundered money through bank accounts in Hong Kong and China on behalf of drug trafficking organizations in Mexico and Colombia to fund purchases of counterfeit goods in China, which were then shipped to Colombia and elsewhere for resale.
The Guangzhou Enterprise typically paid Colombian pesos to the drug traffickers in exchange for their U.S. dollar proceeds of drug trafficking at a heavily discounted exchange rate, which reflected the risks incurred by the money brokers. The Enterprise then located Colombian or other South American customers - usually businesses - that needed U.S. dollars to pay for imported goods or services. They then sold the U.S. dollars to those customers, who used the money to purchase goods and services in China for resale.
United States Attorney Capers thanked the Drug Enforcement Administration, New York Division; Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, New York Field Office; the Department of Justice, Office of International Affairs; DEA Dallas Field Office; New York City Police Department; New York State Police; DEA Beijing Country Office; DEA Hong Kong Country Office; IRS Beijing Country Office; IRS Hong Kong Country Office; the Financial Investigations Group of the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department; and the Chinese Ministry of Public Security for their assistance in this case.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by the Office’s International Narcotics and Money Laundering Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Tyler J. Smith and Ameet B. Kabrawala are in charge of the prosecution.
Jhon Jairo Hincapie-Ramirez
Alias: El Profe
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 15-CR-(CBA)