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Financial Crimes

Former Secretary of Finance for the Mexican State of Coahuila, Mexico, charged with money laundering

SAN ANTONIO — A federal grand jury indictment was unsealed Thursday charging the former Secretary of Finance for the Mexican State of Coahuila, Mexico, for his alleged role in a money laundering conspiracy.

This indictment was announced by U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman, Western District of Texas. This indictment resulted from an investigation conducted by the following agencies: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigation (HSI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), and the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force in San Antonio.

Hector Javier Villarreal, the former Secretary of Finance for the Mexican State of Coahuila, Mexico, appeared before a U.S. District Magistrate Judge Henry Bemporad Feb. 13 to face formal charges of money laundering.

According to court documents, the indictment alleges that since January 2008, Villarreal and others conducted financial transactions involving the proceeds of unlawful activity. The proceeds in question involve the importation, sale and distribution of controlled substances; bribery of a public official; embezzlement of public funds; and wire fraud.

The indictment further alleges that as part of the scheme, Villarreal transferred funds in and out of the United States in order to conceal and disguise the nature, source and ownership of the criminal derived proceeds. Upon conviction, Villarreal faces up to 20 years in federal prison.

Villarreal surrendered to federal authorities in El Paso Wednesday. He remains in federal custody following his initial appearance Thursday. No further court dates are scheduled at this time.

The U.S. Government is grateful for the ongoing cooperation of the Government of Mexico regarding this investigation.

An indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.