Two Indicted for Laundering Marijuana Proceeds for Gulf Cartel in Central Florida
|U.S. Attorney’s Office August 30, 2012|
ORLANDO—United States Attorney Robert E. O’Neill announces the return of an indictment charging Eladio Marroquin-Medina (30, Apopka) and Joel Torres (40, Apopka) with violations related to laundering marijuana proceeds. Marroquin-Medina and Torres are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering; 11 counts of engaging in a monetary transaction of criminally derived property valued at more than $10,000; and 11 counts of evading reporting requirements. If convicted, they each face a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in federal prison on the conspiracy charge and for each of the monetary transaction charges. Both face up to five years in federal prison, respectively, on each of the reporting charges.
Marroquin-Medina is also charged with one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute over 1,000 kilograms of marijuana. If convicted, he faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years, up to a maximum penalty of life in federal prison.
According to court documents, thousands of pounds of marijuana flowed into Florida from a drug trafficking organization known as the Mexico-based Gulf Cartel. The majority of the money from the marijuana sales was sent back to the Texas-based members of the organization. Some of the drug proceeds were used to purchase vehicles from JM2 Auto Sales Inc., located at 2636 Floral Avenue in Apopka. The indictment alleges that Marroquin-Medina and Torres knowingly engaged in multiple transactions from criminally derived property in excess of $10,000 and attempted or caused a business to fail to file required reports.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case is investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, and U.S. Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Christopher LaForgia.