NEW YORK - A New York City police department officer was arrested today by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and New York Police Department (NYPD) Internal Affairs detectives.
Yaniris Balbuena, 31, of Otisville, New York was charged by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York with conspiracy to commit money laundering. She has served as an NYPD officer since March 2000. During the time of the conspiracy, she was the common law wife of a known narcotics trafficker who operated in the Bronx, New York.
According to cooperating witnesses, during the time of the conspiracy Balbuena received thousands of dollars in drug proceeds and laundered the money by depositing the cash into bank accounts she controlled. Banking records for approximately nine accounts owned or controlled by Balbuena show that she received and deposited more than $230,000 of unexplained cash into her bank accounts, an amount which far surpassed her legitimate income.
"Seizing and disrupting large cash payments such as this is a vital part of our nation's fight to stop illegal drugs, and prevents drug traffickers from realizing profits," said Peter J. Smith, special agent in charge for ICE's Office of Investigations in New York. "ICE's unique investigative authority allows our special agents to track down these individuals and roll-up money laundering operations to substantially stem the flow of drug money."
In addition to ICE, the Strike Force is comprised of agents and officers of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the NYPD, the United States Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Marshals Service, the United States Secret Service and the New York State Police. It is partially funded by the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, which is a federally-funded crime fighting initiative.
Balbuena is presumed innocent unless and until found guilty.