US Attorney – Arizona Man Sentenced For Drugs and Money Laundering

PHOENIX – LAWFUEL – Juan Manuel Santillan, 33, of Chandler, was sentenced here on March 24, 2008 by U.S. District Court Judge Stephen M. McNamee to two concurrent 48 month terms in federal prison. Santillan pleaded guilty on April 24, 2007 to separate counts of Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering and to Conspiracy to Possess with the Intent to Distribute 100 Kilograms or More of Marijuana.

In his guilty plea, Santillan acknowledged that beginning around June 14, 2003 he conspired with his brother Alfredo Santillan and others to commit money laundering. Juan Santillan stated he and his brother Alfredo made large sums of money from their involvement in the distribution of marijuana. Juan Santillan stated in his plea that the money they earned was disguised by having a co-conspirator purchase and title property on Juan Santillan’s behalf. The property, a residence located in Gilbert, Ariz., was to be used for the purpose of marijuana trafficking.

Juan and Alfredo Santillan provided a co-conspirator several money orders and cashier’s checks ranging from $100 to $20,000 to present to Capital Title for the purchase of this property. In the plea Juan Santillan acknowledged that the money to purchase the residence was generated from the proceeds of the marijuana distribution. Juan Santillan also admitted to conspiring to distribute 997 kilograms of marijuana which was seized during the search of a tractor trailer stopped by the Arizona Department of Public Safety in Navajo County, Ariz. in February 2005.

Judge McNamee also ordered Juan Santillan to forfeit $82,500 and his interest in the following items: two weapons; a 2002 Cadillac Escalade EXT; a 2002 BMW 745L Sedan; a 2003 Cadillac Escalade; a 2001 BMW M3; a 2002 BMW 745i; a 2003 Big Dog Custom Pitbull Motorcycle; a 1999 Isuzu NPR – Box Truck; and assorted jewelry with a value of $42,010.

The investigation preceding the indictment was conducted by Special Agents of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration with the assistance of the Arizona Department of Public Safety. The prosecution was handled by Glenn B. McCormick, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Phoenix.


RELEASE NUMBER: 2008-070(Santillan)

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