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Feds in Chicago seek 11 years in prison for international money launderer for the Sinaloa Cartel

September 21, 2016  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Feds in Chicago seek 11 years in prison for international money launderer for the Sinaloa Cartel

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Federal prosecutors in Chicago have requested an 11-year prison sentence for Edgar Valencia Ortega, an infamous international money launderer for Mexico’s notorious Sinaloa drug cartel, who along with his siblings, were raised with the children of the criminal organization’s upper echelon.

The 29-year-old Ortega is scheduled for sentencing on Friday. He pleaded guilty to a money laundering conspiracy back in April after he laundered between $1.5 and $3.5 million to Mexico for the drug cartel, led by notorious jailed drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Ortega rapidly climbed the ranks from gopher to international money launderer inside the world’s most powerful drug trafficking organization.

His lawyers say Ortega had a significant advantage given the fact he and his siblings grew up with the children, whose fathers are top figures within the Sinaloa cartel.

Ortega’s defense attorney, Lisa Wood stated in a memo to U.S. District Chief Judge Ruben Castillo: “Mr. Valencia Ortega’s social circle … set him apart from other ‘entry level’ criminals.”

Federal authorities are urging Castillo to sentence the suspect to over 11 years behind bars. They allege that Ortega took a commission on each of the transactions he laundered to Mexico. One carrier was seized with $149,050 back in May 2013, prosecutors reported.

Prosecutors also say the alleged money launderer collected a commission while brokering cocaine transactions. After he assisted in the negotiation of a June 2013 deal with an L.A. customer, 41 kilos of cocaine and $325,000 were confiscated from a courier who was given the job of delivering the drugs.

The feds intercepted another 93 kilos of cocaine in September 2013 while Ortega was in the midst of another laundering deal.

Ortega wishes to serve his sentence in his native country of Mexico. He was apprehended while he was on vacation in the United States. His attorneys say that he immediately confessed to his crimes, and they’ve requested that the judge issues a lenient sentence.

“Mr. Valencia Ortega and his siblings grew up with the children of high-level Sinaloa cartel members,” Wood’s statement read. “This social circle provided Mr. Valencia Ortega access to individuals engaged in large scale criminal activity relatively quickly — much more quickly, at least, than someone without such a network. It also provided him with credibility that outsiders did not have.”

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