U.S. Attorney's Office
Southern District of Florida
(305) 961-9001
September 29, 2014

Head of International Narcotics Trafficking and Money Laundering Organization Sentenced to 150 Years in Prison

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), Miami Field Office, and Donnell Young, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), announce that Alvaro López Tardón, 39, of Miami Beach and Madrid, Spain, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Joan A. Lenard to 150 years in prison. In addition to the term of imprisonment, a $14 million forfeiture money judgment and $2 million fine were entered against Tardón. Tardón was also ordered to forfeit a significant number of assets, including luxury real estate, cars and bank accounts.

After a seven-week trial, Tardón was convicted on one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and 13 substantive counts of money laundering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1956 and 1957, respectively.

Tardón was the head of an international narcotics trafficking and money laundering syndicate which distributed over 7,500 kilograms of South American cocaine in Madrid and laundered over $14,000,000 in narcotics proceeds in Miami by buying high-end real estate, luxury and exotic automobiles and other high-end items. The proceeds were smuggled into Miami by couriers through Miami International Airport, wire transferred to South Florida by co-conspirators via MoneyGram and Western Union, wire transferred to third parties internationally on behalf of Tardón, and wire transferred directly to Tardón and his co-conspirators in Miami through Tardón’s exotic car dealership and other companies controlled by him located in Madrid, Spain.

Following the guilty verdicts, the jury found that a significant portion of the Tardón’s assets should be forfeited. Those assets involved real estate and cars. The real estate purchased by Tardón included condominium units in Miami Beach and Coconut Grove areas of Miami-Dade County. The exotic automobiles included a Bugatti Veyron and Ferrari Enzo, each worth over $1 million, a Mercedes-Benz Maybach 57S, two Mercedes-Benz G55, a Rolls Royce Ghost, and a Land Rover Range Rover. The government also seized three bank accounts.

The seven-week trial included the introduction of over 36,000 pages of financial and corporate documents from Spain and the United States. The trial also included testimony from six members of the Spanish National Police, a member of the Spanish national wiretapping agency (SITEL), and the Spanish taxing authority (Agencia Estatal de la Administración Tributaria).

The investigation and prosecution of Tardón was the result of the ongoing efforts by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to identify, investigate and prosecute high level narcotics traffickers and money launderers.

“For over a decade, Tardón oversaw a narcotics trafficking and money laundering organization that spanned three continents, distributed over 8 tons of cocaine and laundered over $14 million,” said U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer. “Today’s sentencing, which includes the forfeiture of millions of dollars in assets acquired with the proceeds of the narcotics trafficking, ensures not only that Tardón will spend the rest of his life in prison, but the dismantlement of this criminal organization.”

“With this term of imprisonment, rest assured Alvaro Lopez Tardon’s days as an international drug kingpin are over,” said George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Miami. “This was most certainly a team effort with the Spanish National Police and our partners in the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.”

“Today’s sentencing of Tardon is a decisive blow against the drug trafficking and money laundering network. It also sends a clear message to those who attempt to hide their ill-gotten gains through investment in real estate and cars,” said Donnell Young, Acting Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation. “The success of this case can be attributed to the partnership of local, federal and international partners, and IRS Criminal Investigation is proud to be part of such a dedicated group of agencies who were committed to putting Tardon in prison and taking away assets he acquired from the proceeds of his illegal international organization.”

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI, IRS-CI and members of the South Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force (HIDTA) for their extraordinary work in this multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional investigation. Mr. Ferrer also thanked Customs and Border Protection, Tactical Analytical Unit, Drug Enforcement Administration, Miami Police Department and Monroe County Sherriff’s Office. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tony Gonzalez, Cristina Maxwell, Daren Grove and Evelyn B. Sheehan.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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