Posted: Thursday, February 23, 2023. 9:36 am CST.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock/Decrypt
By Aaron Humes: U.S. authorities say they have finally got their man – 42-year-old Jianxing Chen, a former resident of Belize who was extradited from Peru in South America to face multiple charges of money laundering.
Chen is charged with conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, knowing and intending and having reasonable cause to believe it will be unlawfully imported into the United States, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. If convicted, Chen faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and up to life imprisonment. Chen was arrested in Lima, Peru in 2021 and was subject to extradition which concluded two days ago.
A notice from the U.S. Justice Department states that Chen is accused of laundering tens of millions of dollars in drug proceeds on behalf of notorious international drug trafficking organizations, describing him as having “led and controlled a network of couriers who transported cash generated by the domestic sale of controlled substances.” This included cocaine sales from Los Angeles to New York and Atlanta and particularly in the subject jurisdiction, the Eastern District of Virginia.
Chen, per U.S. officials, directed couriers to transport the money from across the States to locations in New York City, where it was laundered through various means until it could be returned to the traffickers in Mexico and Latin America. He was contracted for the process along with others such as Xizhi Li, convicted and sentenced to 180 months in prison.
Chen’s cohorts – Li, Jiayu Chen, Eric Yong Woo, Jingyuan Li, and Tao Liu – have previously been convicted of multiple counts of money laundering and bribery in the case of Liu and received sentences ranging from 18 to 180 months.
The case was investigated as part of two Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF), Operation Dark Castle and Operation Taishan Triangle.
Local news reports tie him to businesses in Belize City and Placencia, but more troublingly, his name came up in the 2011-2013 audit of the Immigration Department, in which Auditor General Dorothy Bradley concluded that Jianxing Chen did not qualify for Belizean nationality, but was approved for multiple passports in 2005, all handled by the then-head of passport who did all the work herself and submitted the passports to be collected on the same day Chen supposedly applied. It is not clear if his nationality and passports have since been revoked.
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