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Contraband
10/22/2012

HSI dismantles multi-state drug, money laundering operation

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Seven people were sentenced to federal prison Wednesday for their roles in a drug trafficking and money laundering scheme that used Arkansas businesses to hide $315,000 in illegal proceeds from a California-based drug ring. The charges stemmed from a joint investigation launched in May 2011 by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and members of the Washington County Sheriff's Department, Springdale Police Department and Rogers Police Department.

Manuel Haro-Gutierrez, 50, a citizen of the Dominican Republic, was sentenced to more than seven years in prison and fined $35,000 by U.S. District Court Judge Jimm Larry Hendren. Gladis Haro, 51, an aggravated felon from Guatemala previously removed from the United States, was sentenced to seven years imprisonment and fined $25,000. Osiris Depaz-Ramirez, 28, a citizen of Guatemala, was sentenced to more than two years imprisonment and Victor Palacios, 52, a citizen of El Salvador, was sentenced to eight months imprisonment.

Jania Haro, 34, a U.S. citizen, was sentenced to eight months imprisonment plus two years supervised release. Ivan Salan-Aguilar, 49, and Manuel Haro Jr., 24, also U.S. citizens, were each sentenced to one year and one day imprisonment plus two years supervised release.

The defendants were arrested Dec. 15 and pleaded guilty April 25.

Raymond R. Parmer Jr., special agent in charge of HSI New Orleans, said, "These defendants sought to hide the proceeds of drug trafficking by passing ill-gotten money through a seemingly legitimate business. Today's sentencing shows how HSI and its law enforcement partners work to penetrate and dismantle elaborate criminal enterprises that threaten the safety and security of our nation." Parmer oversees a five-state area of responsibility including Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.

During the investigation it was discovered that Manuel Haro-Gutierrez and his wife, Gladis Haro, operated a multi-state methamphetamine and crack cocaine ring based in Los Angeles that funneled its profits through two Springdale, Ark., businesses owned by the Haro family – Haro Auto Repair and Paint, and the Rumba Room Night Club. HSI investigators traced a bulk of the laundered currency to the Los Angeles area, where Gladis Haro was residing. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and the Drug Enforcement Agency assisted with the investigation.