Mexican Gang Member Gets 10 Years for Laundering $15M of Drug Money

A Mexican gang member has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for laundering $15 million from the sale of methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin smuggled into the United States.

On Thursday, 34-year-old Bianca Acedo-Ojeda of Sinaloa, Mexico received the sentencing in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. Acedo-Ojeda, a member of the Sinaloa Cartel, was also ordered to pay a $50,000 fine.

Acedo-Ojeda, according to court documents, was extradited from Mexico to San Diego, California in 2019. She had arranged for drug proceeds to be smuggled into Mexico through ports of entry in Southern California by using vehicles with hidden compartments.

She also arranged for the money, which was in U.S. bulk currency, to be converted to Mexican pesos and sent to drug traffickers.

Mexico Flag
A member of Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for laundering $15 million worth of drug money. The above stock photo shows the Mexican flag on a sunny day. Getty Images

Six other defendants in the case, including Acedo-Ojeda's brother, have already pleaded guilty in the case and have been sentenced. An additional defendant, Robert Gallegos-Lechuga, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering and is pending sentencing.

Twenty other individuals who have been linked to serving as drug and money couriers and drug stash house operators have entered guilty pleas and are being sentenced in related cases.

"Money launderers are the lifeblood of criminal organizations," Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department's Criminal Division said in a statement. "We will continue to vigorously prosecute money launderers associated with violent transnational drug trafficking organizations such as the Sinaloa Cartel.

"I want to thank the Government of Mexico for extraditing Acedo-Ojeda to the United States to face criminal charges," Polite Jr. continued. "Through such partnerships, we will attack and work to dismantle dangerous drug cartels and their money laundering facilitators."

Special Agent in Charge Chad Plantz of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) San Diego said that the department "will continue to identify and investigate criminal organizations who seek to exploit our borders in furtherance of their illicit activity – if you engage in illegal finance activity to aid drug cartels, you will be caught and prosecuted."

Newsweek reached out to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for comment.