Assistant U. S. Attorney Larry Casper (619) 546-6734
NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY –October 14, 2020
SAN DIEGO – Oscar Rodriguez-Guevara of Tijuana, Mexico was sentenced today to 162 months in prison for smuggling multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine and methamphetamine into the United States from Mexico and then laundering the illicit proceeds, all for the Sinaloa Cartel. U.S. District Judge Roger T. Benitez also imposed a $50,000 fine.
Rodriguez, known as “El Guero Chihuahua” in the Mexican press, managed an extensive transportation network for the cartel that smuggled cocaine, methamphetamine and other drugs from Mexico, northbound through Southern California ports of entry in vehicles with hidden compartments. In turn, he received the proceeds from cartel drug sales at an exchange house in Tijuana, Mexico. He smuggled the cash back through the border, southbound into Mexico.
Rodriguez was extradited from Mexico to San Diego in April 2019. In his plea agreement, Rodriguez admitted to coordinating the movement of drug proceeds to Mexico and supervising, for the extensive trafficking network, the laundering of these proceeds. Rodriguez coordinated the movement of the cocaine and methamphetamine to the United States and worked closely with Omar Ayon-Diaz, who was previously sentenced in this case, to receive the drug proceeds at “Tanga,” a Tijuana exchange house owned by Ayon Diaz. Rodriguez admitted that these proceeds were also intended to promote the continued importation and trafficking of drugs into the United States.
According to his plea agreement, Rodriguez admitted that he arranged the smuggling of 100 or more kilograms of cocaine as well as methamphetamine into the United States during an 11-month period. Through the wiretap investigation leading to this prosecution, federal agents intercepted Rodriguez’s conversations as he communicated about the smuggling of a load of drugs and firearms from the interior of Mexico to an area of Tijuana near the United States-Mexico border. On another occasion, agents intercepted communications that led to a search warrant at a stash location in San Diego at which more than 27 kilograms of cocaine were seized. On that occasion, Rodriguez messaged an associate explaining that “[t]hey hit my office…the one inside” (meaning in the United States).
“These drugs are destroying lives through addiction and violence,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer. “It is no small victory to bring justice to drug traffickers – particularly those who act on behalf of one of the world’s most violent and prolific drug cartels.” Brewer thanked prosecutor Larry Casper and agents from Homeland Security Investigations for their excellent work on this case.
In addition to Rodriguez-Guevara and the defendants in this case, approximately twenty other individuals have entered guilty pleas and been sentenced previously in related cases. Those cases have involved individuals based in the United States or who frequently crossed into the United States and served as money couriers, drug couriers and drug stash house operators and who were part of, or related to, the same money laundering and drug trafficking organization.
Five other defendants have previously entered guilty pleas in this case and been sentenced (Omar Ayon-Diaz; Osvaldo Contreras-Arriaga; Joel Acedo-Ojeda; Cesar Hernandez-Martinez and Gibran Rodriguez-Mejia). Another defendant, Bianca Acedo-Ojeda, was also extradited from Mexico to face the same international money laundering conspiracy charges and is presently pending trial.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office is working this matter together with the Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.
DEFENDANT Case Number 15-cr-950
Oscar Rodriguez-Guevara Age: 41 Tijuana, Mexico
SUMMARY OF CHARGES
Conspiracy to Commit International Money Laundering, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C., Sec. 1956(a)(2)(B)(i) and (h).
Maximum Penalties: Twenty years in prison; $500,000 fine or twice the value of the funds involved.
SUMMARY OF CHARGES/SENTENCES FOR OTHER DEFENDANTS
Prior Guilty Pleas and Sentences
Cesar Hernandez-Martinez: Pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Commit International Money Laundering, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C., Sec. 1956(a)(2)(B)(i); sentenced to 137 months custody and $250 fine.
Gibran Rodriguez-Mejia: Pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Commit International Money Laundering, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C., Sec. 1956(a)(2)(B)(i) and (h); sentenced to 96 months in custody and $500 fine.
Joel Acedo-Ojeda: Pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Commit International Money Laundering, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C., Sec. 1956(a)(2)(B)(i) and (h); sentenced to 135 months custody and $20,000 fine.
Omar Ayon-Diaz: Pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Commit International Money Laundering, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C., Sec. 1956(a)(2)(B)(i) and (h); sentenced to 120 months custody and $15,000 fine.
Osvaldo Contreras-Arriaga: Pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to import cocaine, in violation of Title 21, U.S.C., Secs. 952, 960 and 963; sentenced to 132 months custody and $1,000 fine.
Homeland Security Investigations