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Attorney General Tom Horne Announces Sentencing In Large-Scale Money Laundering Operation

Home and Cash Seized by State to be Used for Supporting Further Law Enforcement Efforts

PHOENIX, AZ (November 20, 2013)  --  Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne is today announcing the sentencing of several members of the Escalante family of Douglas. They were sentenced by Cochise County Superior Court in a large-scale money laundering operation dating back to 2006.

Gilberto Escalante, the head of this group, was sentenced to an aggravated sentence of 8 years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of money laundering. His ex-wife, Niomi Escalante, and sister, Angelica Escalante, were both given a sentence of 5 years’ probation. Niomi was also ordered to pay back approximately $21,000 to the State of Arizona for fraud committed against the AHCCCS and food stamp system as part of her plea. 

The plea agreements for all individuals required that the Defendants forfeit all interest in the property located at 2902 N. Udall Street in Pirtleville, Arizona. This 36-acre property was purchased in 2007 by Angelica Escalante and Niomi Escalante while Gilberto Escalante was in prison serving a sentence for a conviction of Conducting an Illegal Enterprise, stemming from his drug trafficking activities.  While in prison, he directed the construction of a 2,500 square foot home and a 3,000 square foot horse stable. This property was purchased and built with the money derived from Gilberto Escalante’s illegal activities. Gilberto Escalante was convicted in 1992 of Conspiracy to Possess with the Intent to Distribute Marijuana. In 2005, he was convicted in Pima County Superior Court of Illegally Conducting an Enterprise, again stemming from drug trafficking activities.

The property has been forfeited to the State of Arizona as the proceeds of racketeering offenses and will be sold. The proceeds of this sale will go towards supporting further law enforcement efforts targeted at investigating and prosecuting other racketeering offenses. 

This case was investigated by the Border Crimes Enforcement Section of the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, the Douglas Police Department, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

A photo of the home is attached.

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