Car Dealer Receives 3-Year Prison Term for Cartel Involvement


A federal jury found a 40 year old man, the president of a used car dealership in Florida, guilty of money laundering and various IRS violations in Dec. 2012. He could have received a sentence of up to 10 years for each of the money counts and a maximum prison sentence of five years per count for the IRS-related offenses. However, on May 8, he received a sentence of about three years total in federal prison for the drug distribution charge. The court also ordered him to serve two years of probation upon the completion of his time in custody.

According to the authorities, the accused man used his organization to launder money for a drug cartel. He allegedly took money and then gave vehicles to gang members in Texas and sold other vehicles to Florida gang members. During an investigation, authorities confiscated over 6,000 pounds of marijuana, more than 70 weapons and almost $1 million in cash.

The defendant was part of a joint investigation and was the eleventh person accused in the case. Several of the individuals lived in Central Florida. One of the people was an employee at the car dealership who further implicated the defendant and eventually received a prison sentence of six years. A number of federal, county and local agencies were involved in the investigation.

The Gulf Cartel is one of seven main criminal organizations that traffics drugs from Mexico to the U.S. Authorities explained that the organization generated millions of dollars in income over several years. The marijuana was distributed from Orlando or Jacksonville.

After the serious charges the defendant faced, he received a sentence that was a fraction of what it could have been. A criminal defense lawyer might negotiate with law enforcement personnel and convince the prosecution to reduce the charges in order to lessen possible penalties.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, “Car-dealership owner sentenced to prison in Gulf Cartel case“, Amy Pavuk, May 08, 2013

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