Drug Enforcement Administration

New York

Acting Special Agent in Charge Keith Kruskall , Special Agent in Charge

March 19, 2018

Contact: Erin Mulvey

Phone Number: (212) 337-3900

Mexican Money Launderer Sentenced In International Cocaine Conspiracy

ALBANY, N.Y. - Eduardo Nunez Serna, 44, and a citizen of Mexico, was sentenced today to 57 months in prison for conspiring to launder the proceeds of a large cocaine trafficking organization. 

The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith; James J. Hunt, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement (DEA); James D. Robnett, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office of IRS-Criminal Investigation; and Special Agent in Charge Kevin Kelly of Homeland Security (HSI), Buffalo Field Office.

Between August 2014 and March 30, 2016, a money laundering and drug trafficking organization based in Montreal, Canada, collected cash from selling marijuana in the United States and cocaine in Canada.  The cash was delivered to couriers in, among other places, Albany County, Ulster County, and Montreal so that the cash could be delivered either by a courier or by wire, to cocaine suppliers to purchase cocaine.  At least $1 million was sent to Chicago, Los Angeles, Peru, and Colombia; money was also wired to China.  The organization then arranged for the smuggling of cocaine back to Canada, and transported some of the cocaine through northern New York.

Nunez Serna, an illegal alien, acted as a money courier based in Chicago, Illinois, where he lived.  Nunez Serna picked up cash sent by the money laundering and drug trafficking organization from the sale of marijuana in northern New York on at least two occasions.  He forwarded this money to a cocaine supplier based in Acapulco, Mexico.  On October 27, 2015, law enforcement searched Nunez Serna’s residence and found $710,827 in cash as well as a money ledger denoting transactions.  Nunez Serna also had cellophane wrapping, duct tape, rubber bands, a heat sealer, money counter, and other packaging items used to count and repackage this cash.  

United States District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino also sentenced Nunez Serna to a three-year term of post-imprisonment supervised release, to begin after he is released from prison and in the event he remains in the country.  Nunez Serna was also ordered to forfeit $355,000 in drug proceeds.

As part of the same case, all of the following people have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit international or promotional money laundering. Iraklis Haviaropoulos, Carlos Alberto Ocampo Garcia, and Jose Mauricio Ortiz Bolanos have also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine, before Judge D’Agostino:

This case is the result of the close cooperative efforts of the DEA, including the Albany District Office and DEA offices in Peru, Mexico, Colombia, Guatemala, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Worcester, Massachusetts; IRS-Criminal Investigation, and HSI.  These federal agencies worked closely with the Sûreté du Québec, the Canada Border Services Agency, the Peruvian National Police, and the Colombian National Police.  U.S. Border Patrol, the Malone Police Department, the New York State Police, the Chicago Police Department, the Massachusetts State Police, and the Watervliet Police Department also provided assistance. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth R. Rabe.

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