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Contraband
08/11/2009

ICE returns $2.4 million to Mexico as a result of a bilateral investigation

ICE- led investigation uncovers stolen petroleum products from Mexico into the US

SAN ANTONIO - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Assistant Secretary John Morton announced today the repatriation of $2.4 million to Mexico following a joint U.S. and Mexican investigation. Morton presented a check to Mexico's representative to the Procuduria General de la Republica (PGR) Aerial Moutsatsos and the director of Mexico's Tax Administrator Service (SAT) Alfredo Gutierrez-Mena during a ceremony.

"This case illustrates the commitment ICE and our foreign partners have to thwart illegal cross-border activity," said Morton. "There's no doubt in my mind that the relationships ICE has built over the past four years through our Border Enforcement Security Task Force teams have played an indispensable role in promoting the successful partnership we have with the government of Mexico."

In June 2007, ICE and a Mexican customs administrator provided information regarding the smuggling of stolen Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) petroleum products into the United States. Under Mexican law, only PEMEX and its authorized agents have the legal authority to sell and distribute its products abroad. During the investigation, ICE agents from San Antonio and Houston executed 10 federal search warrants on bank accounts in Texas.

As part of this ongoing and cooperative investigation, Donald Schroeder, the president of Trammo Petroleum, was charged in the Southern District of Texas in May and pleaded guilty to conspiring to receive approximately $2 million in stolen Mexican petroleum products. Schroeder faces a maximum punishment of five years imprisonment at his sentencing in December 2009. Trammo Petroluem agreed to pay $2.4 million to Pemex as restitution to partially compensate it for its damages. The company was also fined $2 million for their involvement.

The investigation continues with additional individuals and companies still under investigation.