ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Seattle Debra Parker and U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced that an Anchorage man has been sentenced to federal prison for distributing methamphetamine, and for laundering drug proceeds through an auto loan for his Mercedes Benz.
Abel Cruz-Perez, 24, of Anchorage, was sentenced Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020, by Sr. U.S. District Judge Ralph R. Beistline to serve 33 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release. In September 2018, Cruz-Perez pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering and one count of distribution of methamphetamine.
According to court documents, on Oct. 24, 2016, Cruz-Perez knowingly distributed 50 grams or more of methamphetamine to another individual, and previously, on Dec. 8, 2014, Cruz-Perez also attempted to possess cocaine with the intent to distribute it to another individual.
On March 25, 2017, Cruz-Perez purchased a 2013 Mercedes Benz C-Class from an automobile dealership in Anchorage. Cruz-Perez obtained financing from a federally insured credit union to purchase the vehicle, and on his application, he provided his employment at J&S Commercial Services as the source of his monthly income. Between April 7 and Aug. 8, 2017, Cruz-Perez paid off a portion of the vehicle loan, sometimes transferring money from his credit union account to pay off the loan. The source of the funds transferred from his account to his loan included cash, as well as postal money order deposits, into his credit union account.
The investigation revealed that the source of the funds used to pay off his vehicle loan in whole or in part came from the distribution of controlled substances. Specifically, Cruz-Perez provided false information on his loan application and used his personal credit union account to conceal the true source and nature of the funds used to pay the vehicle loan.
HSI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) conducted the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of this case. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephan Collins for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Alaska.
As the largest investigative agency within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), HSI investigates and enforces more than 400 federal criminal statutes – more than any other U.S. law enforcement agency. HSI special agents use this authority to investigate cross-border criminal activity – including drug trafficking – and work in close coordination with local state and federal law enforcement agencies to target transnational criminal organizations that are bringing dangerous substances, such as illicit fentanyl, into the community.