6 Arrested in drug money laundering casePosted: Updated:
PHOENIX -- Six people in Tucson, Ariz. and New York have been arrested as part of a mulit-state drug money laundering investigation.
The suspects were all part of what law enforcement officials call the "Sanchez Money Laundering Organization."
The arrests were announced by the Drug Enforcement Adminstration and the Arizona Attorney General.
The Sanchez Money Laundering Organization was involved in the laundering of drug trafficking proceeds through various bank accounts and a local Tucson casino, according to officials.
From approximately June of 2010, and continuing through May of 2013, this group allegedly laundered approximately $1.6 million dollars.
Armando Robles Urrea, Gladis Celaya-Reuelas, Noemi Suarez-Montijo, Frank Babcock, Concepcion Suarez-Montijo, and Maria Yvette Sanchez-Arvizu were arrested.
Luis and Julio Villagrana were spotted on Tuesday night, but fled from law enforcement and have not yet been taken into custody.
Investigators said the head of this organization, Maria Yvette Sanchez-Arvizu, is responsible for laundering more $750,000.
"These arrests and indictments have closed the doors on this criminal drug enterprise, taking away their money, drugs and freedom," said DEA Special Agent in Charge Doug Coleman. "Drug traffickers who profit from the laundering of millions of dollars in drug proceeds can no longer feel safe in Arizona and beyond."
Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne stated, "By working alongside other law enforcement agencies to aggressively pursue, arrest, and prosecute drug traffickers, we are sending a clear message that we will not tolerate the death and violence they bring into Arizona."
This investigation also discovered a large shipment of marijuana sent to the east coast by the group.
In October of 2013, law enforcement intercepted an 84 pound load of pot that was sent via commercial shipping.
After receiving a tip, a search warrant was served on the shipment, which revealed a larege air compressor had been split open, filled with the drugs, then resealed and painted.
The shipment was delivered to New York where it was intercepted by law enforcement at the home of the intended recipient.