January 29, 2016

Mexican drug trafficker gets 30-year sentence in Philadelphia courtroom

Prosecutors: Organization grossed an estimated $4 million monthly on marijuana sales in Philly, NYC

A Mexican drug trafficker whose operation was raking in $4 million monthly was sentenced Friday to 30 years in prison.

Francisco Lopez, 37, a Mexican national who formerly lived in Tucson, Arizona, was the leader of an international drug ring which brought thousands of kilograms of marijuana to Philadelphia and New York, and laundered millions of dollars of drug money, prosecutors said.

On May 14, 2015, a federal jury found Lopez guilty of conspiracy to distribute 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana, conspiracy to commit money laundering, two counts of money laundering, distribution of 100 kilograms of marijuana, and illegal reentry after deportation.

Lopez operated his business since at least January 2010, transporting drugs from Mexico in tractor-trailers or through Federal Express Freight to customers in Philadelphia and New York City, according to prosecutors, who said an estimated $4 million in drug sales was grossed monthly at times. That money was then sent back to Mexico in cars, tractor trailers, and via numerous bank deposits through countless bank accounts by associates nationwide, they said.

In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge Paul S. Diamond ordered a $600 special assessment, five years of supervised release, and a forfeiture money judgment of $1.5 million, prosecutors said.

As a result of the investigation, Lopez and 10 of his associates were federally prosecuted. Of those, seven were convicted in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; two were convicted in the Middle District of North Carolina and one was convicted in the District of New Jersey.

The case, investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security, was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Maria M. Carrillo.