Six Sentenced for Laundering Millions in Drug Cartel Cash

Cash Seizure
File Photo: Dirck Halstead/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

The combined total between the money seized and forfeited totals nearly $3 million.

Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez announced on Friday that four Texas residents and two Mexican Nationals were sentenced to federal prison for their roles in laundering millions of dollars to Mexican cartels.

Defendants Roosevelt Faz, 49, and Ted Cantu, 48, both of Donna; Sandra Haro, 37, of Edinburg; Maria Elena Bonilla-Torres, 41, of Puente de Camciclan, Nayarit, Mexico; Guillermo Trevino, 44, of Weslaco; and Erwin Rolando Contreras-Mata, 27, of Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico, all pleaded guilty on August 31, 2016.

During the plea, Faz reportedly admitted to scheduling the pick-up of drug proceeds from cities such as Atlanta and St. Louis, which are major distribution hubs for cartels. Faz coordinated the pick-ups for Javier Reyna, another indicted defendant who is currently on the run as a fugitive. Cantu and Trevino acted as truck drivers and admitted to receiving the money in the various cities spread across the United States. Once delivered to Faz, the drug money was then picked up by Contreras-Mata who was also acting on behalf of Javier Reyna. A stash house owned by Haro and run by Bonilla-Torres was used to store money in McAllen. Haro was also responsible for handling communications between Reyna and an individual was receiving the money in Mexico.

U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez sentenced Faz, Haro, Trevino, and Bonilla-Torres to 140, 130, 80 and 72 months in prison, respectively, on Thursday. Faz, Trevino and Haro were also ordered to pay a money forfeiture of $1,825,000 which is separate from the $1,028,006 seized during the investigation. Contreras-Mata and Cantu were also sentenced on Thursday receiving 46 and 38 months in prison, respectively, in addition to agreeing to forfeit all money seized from them during the investigation.

Bonilla-Torres and Contreras-Mata were already in police custody, Faz and Haro joined them following Thursday’s hearing. Trevino and Cantu were allowed to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility that will be determined soon.

Although the name of the cartel that these individuals were involved with was not given, McAllen, Texas, is in territory that is considered to belong to the Gulf organization. However, the cities that the defendants collected the drug proceeds from is known to be Sinaloa territory.

Ryan Saavedra is a contributor for Breitbart Texas and can be found on Twitter at @RealSaavedra.


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