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47 Defendants Indicted in Cross-Border Money Laundering Operation

(Phoenix, Ariz. – Aug. 10, 2007) Attorney General Terry Goddard today announced that the State Grand Jury returned a 115-count indictment against 47 defendants on charges of conspiracy, illegally conducting an enterprise, money laundering, weapons possession and possession for sale of marijuana and meth.

The indictments are the result of a six-month investigation conducted by the Phoenix Police Department that found evidence of money laundering through a shuttle van service from Phoenix to Sonoyta, Caborca and Puerto Penasco, Mexico, for various drug organizations. According to investigators, drug dealers would drop off cash to the shuttle van service, and drivers would strap the money to their bodies and take the money across the border.

During the course of the investigation, 40 search warrants were executed that netted about 7,000 pounds of marijuana, 55 pounds of meth, $1.4 million, 26 vehicles and an array of guns.

The State Grand Jury returned indictments against 47 defendants. The following defendants are currently in custody:

  • Jorge G. Barraza, 47, of Caborca, Mexico, was indicted on one count of conspiracy, one count of illegally conducting an enterprise and three counts of money laundering.
  • Blanca Castillo, 23, of Phoenix, was indicted on one count of conspiracy, one count of illegally conducting an enterprise and six counts of money laundering.
  • Blanca Coronado, 48, of Phoenix, was indicted on one count of conspiracy, one count of illegally conducting an enterprise and 44 counts of money laundering.
  • Hector Manuel Ferrer-Payan, 26, of Mexico, was indicted on one count of conspiracy, one count of illegally conducting an enterprise, transportation for sale or transfer of methamphetamine and misconduct involving weapons. Ferrer-Payan is an undocumented immigrant and is being held without bond.
  • Veronica Gutierrez, 37, of Mexico, was indicted on one count of conspiracy, one count of illegally conducting an enterprise and 13 counts of money laundering. Gutierrez is an undocumented immigrant and is being held without bond.
  • Mario Francisco Hocker, 35, of Phoenix, was indicted on one count of conspiracy, one count of illegally conducting an enterprise and 19 counts of money laundering. more
  • Armida Madera, 53, of Sonoyta, Mexico was indicted on one count of conspiracy, one count of illegally conducting an enterprise and five counts of money laundering.
  • Christian Enrique Mota, 24, of Mexico, was indicted on one count of conspiracy, one count of illegally conducting an enterprise and two counts of money laundering.
  • Gustavo Mota, Jr., 27, of Mexico, was indicted on one count of conspiracy, one count of illegally conducting an enterprise, six counts of money laundering and three counts of use of wire communication in drug-related transaction.
  • Gustavo Mota, Sr., 48, of Mexico, was indicted on one count of conspiracy, one count of illegally conducting an enterprise and six counts of use of wire communication in drugrelated transaction.
  • Lamberto Quintero-Pacheco, 19, of Mexico, was indicted on one count of conspiracy, one count of illegally conducting an enterprise, possession for sale of methamphetamine, transportation for sale or transfer of methamphetamine and misconduct involving weapons. Quintero-Pacheco is an undocumented immigrant and is being held without bond.
  • Luis Antonio Uranga Carmona, 33, of Phoenix, was indicted on one count of conspiracy, one count of illegally conducting an enterprise and seven counts of money laundering.
  • Miriam Carmona Sanchez Uranga, 42, of Phoenix, was indicted on one count of conspiracy, one count of illegally conducting an enterprise and six counts of money laundering.
  • Jorge Velasquez Felix, 51, of Mexico, was indicted on one count of conspiracy, one count of illegally conducting an enterprise and five counts of money laundering.
  • Jose Guadalupe Villasenor, 44, of Lukeville, was indicted on one count of conspiracy, one count of illegally conducting an enterprise and four counts of money laundering.

Among the defendants in custody, all but three are U.S. citizens or legal residents. A copy of the indictment is attached. Assistant Attorney General Paula Alleman is prosecuting this case. The indictments are the result of an investigation led by the Phoenix Police Department.

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