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Boulder, Colo., man arrested on drug-related money laundering charges

DENVER – A man from Boulder, Colo., was arrested last week on drug-related money laundering charges.

This arrest was announced by the following agencies: U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Colorado; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) Criminal Investigation; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; and the Boulder County Drug Task Force.

Taylor Smith Hills, 25, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver Jan. 29 for money laundering in relation to distributing a control substance, illegally using the mail, making a false statement in a loan application, and failing to pay taxes. His initial appearance took place Jan. 30 in Denver, where he was advised of his rights.

According to the indictment, from March 31, 2011, through May 1, 2012, Hills allegedly engaged in financial transactions which involved the proceeds of distributing controlled substances. Hills allegedly conducted financial transactions knowing that the property involved in each transaction represented the proceeds of unlawful activity.

Furthermore, Hills knowingly and willfully made a false statement on a vehicle loan application to influence the action of JP Morgan Chase, a federally insured financial institution. Lastly, beginning on April 15, 2012, and continuing through Jan. 29, 2013, Hills knowingly and willfully failed to file an income tax return and pay income tax due for the calendar year 2011.

If convicted of the violations alleged in the indictment, Hills shall forfeit to the United States any and all right, title and interest in all property, real or personal, involved in such offenses, or all property traceable to such property, including but not limited to the following: a 2008 Ducati motorcycle, and U.S. currency located in a Roth IRA.

"Thanks to the joint efforts of local, state and federal law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies, a defendant involved in money laundering proceeds from the distribution of a controlled substance has been arrested for his misdeeds," said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.

"Drug trafficking organizations have to launder large sums of their illicit proceeds, often through financial institutions and other investment vehicles," said Kumar Kibble, special agent in charge of HSI Denver. "This investigation is another example of HSI working with our law enforcement partners to disrupt and dismantle these organizations by removing the assets they need to continue dealing in illicit drugs."

"This is a great example of law enforcement agencies working together. IRS Criminal Investigation's goal in drug cases is to help put drug dealers in jail and financially disrupt their efforts by seizing the drug proceeds," said Stephen Boyd, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Denver Field Office.

"Individuals who use the U.S. Mail to facilitate the transportation of illegal drugs and related proceeds are violating federal law. These are priority investigations for our agency," said Adam Behnen, Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Denver Division.

"The investigation demonstrates the effectiveness of federal agencies working in cooperation with local law enforcement. The District Attorney's Office of the 20th Judicial District and the Boulder County Drug Task Force would like to thank all the federal agencies and agents involved in making this investigation possible," said Ken Kupfner, Chief Trial Deputy, 20th Judicial District.

Taylor Hills was charged with 17 counts of money laundering, 12 counts of illegally using the mail, one count of making a false statement in loan application, and one count of failing to file a tax return.

If convicted of money laundering, he faces not more than 20 years in federal prison, and a fine of up to $500,000 per count. If convicted of illegally using the mail, he faces not more than four years in federal prison, and a fine of up to $250,000 per count. If convicted of making a false statement in a loan application, he faces not more than 30 years in federal prison, and a fine of up to $1 million per count. If convicted of failing to file a tax return, he faces not more than a year in federal prison, and a fine of up to $25,000 per count.

This case was investigated by agents with HSI, IRS-Criminal Investigation, U.S Postal Inspection Service, officers from the Boulder County Drug Task Force, and the Boulder County District Attorney's Office.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michele Korver, District of Colorado, is prosecuting this case.

The charges contained in the indictment are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.