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Contraband
02/10/2009

Boston area man sentenced to 7.5 years in federal prison for laundering drug money

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents helped crack the case

BOSTON - A Boston-area man was sentenced on February 10, 2009 to seven and a half years in prison on charges of money laundering and drug distribution in connection with a Jamaica Plain money remitting business known as Boston Envio. Claudio Tejeda Andujar, 35, (a/k/a Jose Rivera and a/k/a Dagoberto Lazacha) was a partner in Boston Envio that between 2004 and 2006, wire transferred millions of dollars to the Dominican Republic and also received millions of dollars in cash deposits.

"The sentence should be a powerful deterrent to those who attempt to launder the illegal proceeds from the distribution of drugs in the United States," said Bruce M. Foucart, Special Agent in Charge of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Office of Investigations in Boston. "The case is also an outstanding example of cooperation between ICE, the FBI, the Boston Police and the Dominican National Police to bring a drug and money laundering ring to justice."

The charges against Andujar stemmed from a two-year ICE, FBI and IRS "sting" operation in which a cooperating witness brought cash to Boston Envio, represented the funds to be drug proceeds, and asked that the money be wired to the Dominican Republic. Andujar pled guilty in April 2008 to charges that between September 2004 and March 2006, he and others conspired to launder money that had been represented to them as drug proceeds. In addition, Andujar pled guilty to charges alleging that he sold approximately 1 kilogram of cocaine to a cooperating witness on two occasions, December 16, 2004 and March 14, 2005.

The case was investigated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Internal Revenue Service with assistance from the Massachusetts Division of Banks and the Boston Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Zachary R. Hafer of the U.S. Attorney's Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force.

On January 23, 2008, Santo Melo, another defendant in the case, was sentenced to 60 months in prison for violations of Conspiracy to Launder Money, Money Laundering, and Theft of Government Property. On December 19, 2007, Jose Garcia, also a defendant, in the scheme, was sentenced to three years probation for violations of Failure to File Currency Transaction Reports