International Drug Money Laundering Conviction
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 Jose A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), announce that Alvaro López Tardón, 39, of Miami Beach and Madrid, Spain, was convicted on 14 counts of conspiracy to launder narcotics proceeds and money laundering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1956 and 1957. Sentencing is scheduled for August 19, 2014, before U.S. District Judge Joan A. Lenard. At sentencing, Tardón faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on the conspiracy to commit money laundering count and 10 years in prison on each substantive money laundering count, followed by three years of supervised release.
Tardón was the head of an international narcotics trafficking and money laundering syndicate that distributed over 7,500 kilograms of South American cocaine in Madrid and laundered over $15,000,000 in narcotics proceeds in Miami by buying high-end real estate, luxury, 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 defendant’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. The exotic automobiles included a Bugatti Veyron and Ferrari Enzo, each worth more than $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.
U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer stated, “This case demonstrates that we will work vigorously with our local, federal, and international partners to bring to justice those who traffic in narcotics as well as those who launder drug proceeds. Our efforts transcend international borders and we are grateful for the cooperation of our domestic and foreign partners who worked together to ensure the success of this case.”
“In the world of drug trafficking, Alvaro Lopez Tardon is a bona fide kingpin,” said George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge FBI Miami. “His multi-million-dollar cocaine enterprise spanned the globe from South America to Spain to Miami. Thus, bringing him to justice required immense cooperation. As such, the FBI praises the assistance and investigative efforts of the Spanish National Police and our partners in the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.”
Jose A. Gonzalez, IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge, stated, “Today’s guilty verdict against the head of a major international narcotics trafficking and money laundering organization represents an important victory for all of us. By following the money trail, we were able to disrupt and dismantle Tardon’s drug trafficking organization and elaborate money laundering scheme and seize a significant portion of his ill-gotten gains. IRS-CI is proud to work alongside its law enforcement partners to bring criminals to justice.”
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 Boarder Protection, Tactical Analytical Unit, Drug Enforcement Administration, Miami Police Department, and Monroe County Sherriff’s Office. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tony Gonzalez and Cristina Maxwell.
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.