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Contraband
05/06/2013

Former drug cartel member convicted of drug trafficking conspiracy and money laundering

WILMINGTON, Del. – A California man was convicted by a jury Monday for drug trafficking conspiracy and money laundering. The conviction is the result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Miguel A. Lavenant, 38, of San Diego, was convicted of conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute five kilos or more of cocaine. Lavenant faces a possible sentence of life in prison at sentencing which is scheduled for Aug. 16, 2013.

"Regardless of their role in a drug trafficking organization, this type of criminal activity will not be tolerated," said John Kelleghan, special agent in charge of HSI Philadelphia. "HSI will use all of our investigative resources to keep illegal drugs from being distributed in our communities."

According to court documents, Lavenant shipped over 50 kilos of cocaine from San Diego to the East Coast, some of which was later distributed in Delaware. Lavenant’s customers on the East Coast paid for their cocaine by making large-scale cash deposits into different bank accounts that Lavenant controlled.

Lavenant is a former enforcer and drug smuggler for the Arellano-Felix Organization, (AFO) a drug trafficking cartel based in Mexico. He was featured prominently in a National Geographic documentary, "Tijuana Drug Lords," in which he discussed his role in the AFO.

The Drug Enforcement Administration; Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation; Wilmington Police Department, Newark (Del.) Police Department and California Department of Justice were instrumental in the investigation.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert F. Kravetz and Jennifer L. Hall, District of Delaware.