Nogales couple charged in Arizona-Maryland drug trafficking conspiracy
July 13th 2012 · 9 Comments
A husband and wife from Nogales were among nine people indicted by a federal grand jury in Maryland on charges that they conspired to distribute more than 2,200 pounds of marijuana.
The two-count indictment was filed in the District of Maryland was unsealed Wednesday after agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) arrested all nine defendants. The Valenzuelas were scheduled to make their initial appearance on the charges on Wednesday at U.S. District Court in Tucson.
The indictment alleges that starting at least in June 2011, the defendants conspired to transport marijuana from Arizona to Maryland, with the Valenzuelas running the Arizona end of the operation.
Prosecutors say the group kept their financial transactions under $10,000 to evade IRS filing requirements for transactions involving more than $10,000 in cash. They also accuse the suspects of using third parties to open bank accounts at multiple financial institutions to conceal funds that were derived from drug proceeds.
The indictment seeks the forfeiture of $950,000, believed to be the value of the cash and property involved in the conspiracies. The defendants each face a maximum sentence of life in prison for the drug conspiracy and 20 years in prison for the money laundering conspiracy.
A version of this column originally appeared in www.nogalesinternational.com.
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