A Mexican socialite is currently in U.S. custody facing federal money laundering charges for her alleged role in helping a former Tamaulipas governor move millions in bribes and embezzled funds into Texas. The case points to a larger conspiracy where key members the upper echelons of high society in that state appear to have taken part in laundering funds for corrupt politicians.
Earlier this month, U.S. federal authorities arrested Monica Roca Perez in California on a warrant out of Corpus Christi. The bust comes after a federal grand jury handed down an indictment charging her and several other individuals with hiding illicit funds in Texas.
The case against Roca Peres is tied to the ongoing hunt for fugitive Tamaulipas governor Eugenio Hernandez Flores. The Mexican politician has been charged with money laundering and is currently listed as a wanted fugitive by the U.S. Department of Justice. Under Hernandez’s term, Mexican drug organizations like Los Zetas and the Gulf Cartels went largely untouched while multiple government officials received hefty bribes.
After her recent arrest, Roca Perez went before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in California who ordered that she be held without bond because she is a Mexican national; has more ties in that country than in the U.S.; and is considered a flight risk. Roca Perez is the second defendant in the case pointing to other people who have not been arrested in connection with the indictment; the other names remain under seal by the court.
According to the criminal indictment obtained by Breitbart Texas, from 2008 until the date of her arrest, Roca Perez had allegedly been moving funds from an illicit source into the U.S. in an attempt to hide the nature of the monies. Federal prosecutors are moving to seize $800,000 in cash tied to Perez and a house in the border city of McAllen.
A tax records search of the property listed in the indictment revealed that the owner is Adriana Gonzalez, not Roca Perez. Adriana Gonzalez is the wife of Eugenio Hernandez Flores, the former governor of Tamaulipas who is considered a wanted fugitive by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Roca Perez was known as a socialite in the Tamaulipas capital of Ciudad Victoria. Perez’s arrest comes almost two years after the arrest of Cindy Gabriela Apac, another socialite and the wife of a regional director for the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), Breitbart Texas previously reported. Apac pleaded guilty to money laundering charges and was released on bond pending her sentencing hearing which has been pushed back multiple times since its original date of March 2016. Her next sentencing hearing is set for May 2017. It remains unclear if Apac is now assisting federal prosecutors in the other cases.
Under the leadership of Eugenio Hernandez and his predecessor Tomas Yarrington, Mexican drug cartels–primarily Gulf and Los Zetas–saw a boom times as they received government protection from state officials in exchange for bribes. While both Hernandez and Yarrington are wanted in the U.S on money laundering charges, Yarrington also faces drug conspiracy charges for helping Los Zetas and Beltran Leyva cartels access the Port of Veracruz.
One of those multiple Tamaulipas officials who protected the cartel was outed by the FBI as top Tamaulipas Police Commander Gilberto Plata. The former cop who served from 2006 to 2011 is currently serving a 15-year sentence in the U.S for his role as a surrogate to the Gulf Cartel.
Ildefonso Ortiz is an award winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and Stephen K. Bannon. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.