Wives of Convicted Drug Traffickers Plead Guilty to Laundering Drug Proceeds
CHICAGO — The wives of convicted drug traffickers Pedro Flores and Margarito Flores have each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
VIVIANNA LOPEZ, also known as “Mia Flores,” 42, and VALERIE GAYTAN, also known as “Olivia Flores,” 47, both confirmed in their plea agreements that from December 2008 until March 2020, they conspired with each other – as well as others – to conduct financial transactions involving drug proceeds, knowing the transactions were designed in part to conceal the nature of the proceeds. Additionally, their plea agreements state that between at least May 2005 and December 2008, Margarito Flores and Pedro Flores operated a Chicago-based distribution cell for the Sinaloa Cartel and the Beltran Leyva Organization, which involved the transportation and distribution of hundreds of kilograms of cocaine and kilogram quantities of heroin per month to customers in Chicago, Columbus, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, New York, Washington, D.C., Detroit, Los Angeles, and Vancouver. This drug trafficking activity generated hundreds of millions of dollars of proceeds from the sale of narcotics.
After their husbands’ cooperation began in November 2008, Lopez and Gaytan stored cash drug proceeds from their husbands’ drug operations, proceeds which they accessed and spent for the benefit of themselves and others until 2020. The charges alleged that the money was spent on various items, including more than $165,000 in private school tuition for children of Vivianna Lopez and Gaytan, more than $99,000 in international and domestic travel by Vivianna Lopez and Gaytan, more than $80,000 for Vivianna Lopez’s residential rent, and approximately $11,000 in child support for a child of one of the incarcerated husbands. Both have agreed to the government’s forfeiture request of $504,858.
Gaytan pleaded guilty on April 14, 2023 and Lopez plead guilty on April 20, 2023. Laura Lopez also pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering on April 20, 2023. Sentencing dates have not been set. Each count carries a maximum potential sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment.
The plea agreements are announced by Morris Pasqual, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Sheila G. Lyons, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; Justin Campbell, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago; and Ruth M. Mendonça, Inspector-in-Charge of the Chicago Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew C. Erskine and Erika L. Csicsila.