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Judge sentences leader of money laundering racket for drug traffickers to 10 years

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(The Center Square) – A judge sentenced a man accused of leading an international money laundering network for cocaine traffickers to 10 years in prison.

Jianxing Chen, 42, of Belize City, Belize, also was ordered to forfeit $6 million. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering in May after prosecutors said he laundered millions of dollars of cocaine profits on behalf of drug trafficking organizations.

Chen, from at least 2014 to 2020, led a network of couriers  who transported cash generated by the sale of cocaine throughout the United States – including Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and Atlanta – from those locations to New York City, according to court records.

From New York City, the cash was laundered through a variety of methods until it, or its equivalent value, was remitted to drug trafficking organizations in Latin America, including Mexico. Chen received “contracts” to transport and launder this money through co-conspirators. Those co-conspirators were convicted based on the same superseding indictment, according to court records.

Chen coordinated the laundering of drug money from Latin American drug trafficking organizations, including those based in Mexico, into the hands of Chinese nationals, who subsequently “engaged in a sophisticated scheme to covertly launder the drug money into mainland China, largely circumventing the U.S. financial system,” according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Co-defendant Xizhi Li was sentenced to 15 years in prison in October 2021 for leading the conspiracy to launder tens of millions of dollars for foreign drug trafficking organizations.

Li signed an order of forfeiture for $10 million as part of his plea, according to court records.

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