Head Of Colombian Money Laundering Operation Gets 40 Years
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) _ A Colombian businessman convicted of running a multimillion-dollar money- laundering operation for some of his country’s biggest cocaine traffickers was sentenced Thursday to 40 years in prison.
Carlos Restrepo, 38, of Medillin and three other men sentenced with him in U.S. District Court, were arrested in June 1987 following an FBI undercover investigation code-named ″Expressway.″
During the three-year investigation, about 100 people around the country turned over $200 million in drug money to FBI agents posing as money launderers, said U.S. Attorney Stanley Twardy.
A jury in November found Restrepo guilty of 66 counts, including multiple violations of the federal Money Laundering and Travel acts, racketeering, and conspiracy.
Restrepo was found to have moved about $13 million in cocaine proceeds through a dummy corporation set up by the FBI in Greenwich between September 1986 and June 1987. Prosecutors also presented evidence he laundered about $7 million more through operations in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Judge Jose Cabranes also on Thursday handed out a 20-year jail sentence to Carlos Gaviria, 31, of Colombia, a lieutenant in an enterprise that laundered money for a criminal organization, the government said.
Marco Tulio Lora, 50, and Jorge Gomez, 35, Colombians who had been living in Miami, received 16-year prison sentences. They were described as partners in the money-laundering business who acted as brokers.
Three men described as couriers for Restrepo were sentenced Wednesday. One received a four-year sentence while the others were placed on probation.
Restrepo has appealed his conviction, citing as grounds alleged entrapment by the FBI and improper jury instructions.
He admitted in court that he knew Colombian drug traffickers were the source of 80 percent to 90 percent of the cash he handled in the United States. But he said he was in the business of exchanging dollars for pesos at a profit, and not of money laundering.