INVESTIGATION LINKS FORMER LEHMAN BROTHERS ACCOUNT REPRESENTATIVE WITH
The Drug Enforcement Administration announced the unsealing of two separate Indictments in Manhattan federal court, both arising out of a DEA investigation into the Southeast Cartel, one of Mexico's most powerful and violent narcotics organizations.
DEA Administrator Asa Hutchinson applauded the joint efforts of the DEA, the Mexican Attorney General's Office and the United States Attorney's Office in New York. "If you cut off their flow of money, you cut off the traffickers' lifeline," Hutchinson said. "The DEA will continue to attack drug cartels where it hurts them the most - in their bank accounts," Hutchinson said.
The narcotics indictment charges Jose Albino Quintero Meraz and Jorge Manuel Torres Teyer as defendants added to an indictment which already charged Alcides Ramon Magana, Gilberto Salinas Doria, and Mario Ernesto Villanueva Madrid, the former Governor of the Mexican State of Quintana Roo, with narcotics conspiracy.
The Southeast Cartel conspired to import hundreds of tons of cocaine into the United States and distributed it in metropolitan areas nationwide. Cocaine was shipped from Columbia to various locations in Belize and Quintana Roo, Mexico, by speedboat where they were subsequently transported to the United States.
Villanueva Madrid, then Governor of Quintana Roo, is alleged to have received payments for each shipment, approximately 30 million dollars in total, in exchange for his protection to store and transport the Cartel's cocaine shipments, which also included the use of state facilities owned by the Office of the Governor. Formal extradition requests of Villanueva Madrid, Ramon Magana, Salinas Doria, Quintero Meraz and Torres Teyer are expected later this month.
The second indictment charges Consuelo Marquez, a former Lehman Brothers account representative in New York, with participating in the laundering of millions of dollars of Villanueva Madrid's narcotics proceeds. Also charged in the money laundering conspiracy are Madrid and his son, Luis Ernesto Villanueva Tenorio.
Since 1995 Madrid and Tenorio were alleged to have deposited large amounts of narcotics proceeds into foreign and U.S. bank and brokerage accounts. They then enlisted the assistance of Marquez to conceal their ownership and avoid the detection of the funds by law enforcement. Marquez utilized her positions at Serfin Securities (a Mexican investment firm with offices in New York) and later with Lehman Brothers to establish offshore corporations structured to conceal the narcotic proceeds and their ownership by Madrid and Tenorio. The seizure and forfeiture of the accounts, estimated to total approximately 45 million dollars, are being sought.
Felix Jimenez, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA New York Field Division, stated, "The success of this investigation exhibits the DEA's commitment to the pursuit of facilitators who aid and conspire in an attempt to launder narcotic trafficking proceeds utilizing U.S. financial institutions. The close working relationship between Mexican and United States law enforcement counterparts was instrumental in the dismantling of the money laundering network operating in this major drug trafficking organization."