• Thu. Sep 16th, 2021

US Citizen Laundered South American Drug Cartel Cash in Guatemala Casinos


Aug 5, 2021

Posted on: August 4, 2021, 11:34h. 
Final up to date on: August 4, 2021, 12:03h.

Philip Conneller Learn Extra

A US citizen pleaded responsible in a federal courtroom Monday to laundering cash for South American drug cartels, partly by means of two casinos he owned in Guatemala.

Xizhi Li, pictured, allegedly entertained fellow gangsters at his casinos in Guatemala Metropolis. (Picture: Alexandria Sheriff’s Workplace)

Xizhi Li, 48, is accused of washing a minimum of $30 million for medication gangs, together with the infamous Sinaloa Cartel and its former chief, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.
In accordance with prosecutors, Li performed a “management function” in a years-long conspiracy that used “a overseas on line casino, overseas and home entrance corporations, overseas and home financial institution accounts, false passports, and different false identification paperwork to launder cash on behalf of transnational drug-trafficking organizations whose primary drug-trafficking actions concerned cocaine.”
Shifting Cash
China-born, naturalized US citizen Li is a former LA restaurateur who most just lately lived in Mexico. With co-conspirator Eric Yong Woo, he purchased the Golden Video Loteria and Golden MGM casinos in Guatemala Metropolis.
In accordance with an unnamed confidential federal witness, in addition to utilizing the casinos to launder cash, the lads went into the playing enterprise “to point out drug cartel representatives that they had been rich businessmen” and “had been able to efficiently shifting drug cash, and that if the cash was seized, they might be able to repaying.”

Prosecutors mentioned the casinos had been additionally a spot to entertain fellow gangsters and “make new drug trafficking and cash laundering contacts,” whereas performing as a handy place to retailer weapons.

One other co-conspirator, Chinese language nationwide Tao Liu, 46, of Hong Kong, was sentenced on Tuesday to seven years in jail for his function within the conspiracy. Liu collected bulk drug money on behalf of Li, which he later deposited into accounts managed by Li.
Lui additionally tried to bribe an undercover DEA agent posing as a corrupt US State Division official in an effort to acquire US passports for members of the gang,
Public Hazard
“This prosecution demonstrates the large worth of collaborating with businesses throughout the federal government and with our worldwide companions to dismantle and maintain accountable transnational prison organizations that pose a major hazard to the general public,” mentioned Appearing U.S. Legal professional Raj Parekh for the Jap District of Virginia.
“The far-reaching conspiracy on this case concerned the laundering of thousands and thousands of {dollars} of unlawful proceeds on behalf of transnational drug-trafficking organizations by means of the usage of a on line casino, entrance corporations, overseas and home financial institution accounts, false identification paperwork, and bulk money smuggling.
“We enormously respect the important and innumerable contributions from our associate businesses, all of whom labored carefully collectively to totally observe the info and proof that led to the unraveling of this multimillion-dollar money-laundering scheme.”
Li will likely be sentenced on October 26. He faces as much as 20 years in jail on a cost of cash laundering conspiracy.

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