Foreign National Sentenced to 10 Years for Money Laundering in Drug Conspiracy
A foreign national, Jianxing Chen, 42, residing in Belize City, Belize, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to forfeit $6 million for his involvement in a conspiracy to commit money laundering. Chen was charged with laundering millions of dollars in drug proceeds on behalf of international drug trafficking organizations.
Cash Transportation and Money Laundering Scheme
According to court documents, from at least 2014 to 2020, Chen led and controlled a network of couriers responsible for transporting cash generated from the sale of cocaine across various locations in the United States, including Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and Atlanta, to New York City. Subsequently, this cash was subjected to money laundering through various methods until it or its equivalent value was remitted to drug trafficking organizations in Latin America, including Mexico. Chen received “contracts” to transport and launder this money through co-conspirators who faced prosecution and conviction based on the same superseding indictment.
Sophisticated Money Laundering Scheme
Chen played a pivotal role in laundering multimillion-dollar quantities of drug proceeds from Latin American drug trafficking organizations, particularly those based in Mexico. The laundered money was then directed into the hands of Chinese nationals who engaged in a sophisticated scheme to covertly transfer the drug money into mainland China, effectively bypassing the U.S. financial system.
Legal Proceedings and Co-Defendant’s Sentencing
Chen pleaded guilty on May 23. In a related case, co-defendant Xizhi Li was sentenced in October 2021 to 15 years in prison for leading a conspiracy to launder tens of millions of dollars for foreign drug trafficking organizations. Li agreed to a consent order of forfeiture for $10,000,000 to the United States as part of his plea.
Announcement by Justice Department Officials
The announcement of these charges and sentencing was made by Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Jessica D. Aber for the Eastern District of Virginia, and DEA Administrator Anne Milgram.
Investigation and Collaborative Efforts
The case was investigated by the DEA Louisville Division and the DEA’s Special Operations Division, Bilateral Investigations Unit, with assistance from the DEA’s Office of Special Intelligence, Document and Media Exploitation Unit, and various DEA offices across the United States and internationally. Several other law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Interpol, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s National Targeting Center, collaborated in the investigation.
Acknowledgment of International Cooperation
The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs played a crucial role in securing Chen’s extradition from Peru. The United States expressed gratitude to Peruvian law enforcement authorities for their assistance and collaboration in the case.
Deputy Chief Mary K. Daly and Chief Stephen Sola of the Justice Department’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section, Money Laundering and Forfeiture Unit, along with former Assistant U.S. Attorneys David A. Peters and Rachael C. Tucker and Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Aminoff for the Eastern District of Virginia, were responsible for prosecuting the case.