Drugs and Money Laundering Syndicate Member Sees Italians Charged in New York

Crimes Involved Laundering of Hundreds of Millions of Dollars in Narcotics Proceeds Using a Variety of Methods, Through the United States, Italy, Hong Kong, and Mexico, As Well As Trafficking Hundreds of Kilograms of Cocaine and Heroin

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and David J. Downing, Special Agent in Charge of the Los Angeles Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), announced today the extradition of FILIPPO MAGNI, who is charged, along with co-defendant GIACOMO MANCI, with money laundering and narcotics offenses in a Superseding Indictment (the “Indictment”). MAGNI was extradited from Italy to the United States on June 14, 2018, and presented today before Chief United States Magistrate Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein. MANCI’s extradition from Italy remains pending. This case is assigned to United States District Judge Katherine B. Forrest.

The Indictment, which was returned under seal on November 10, 2016, alleges that MAGNI and MANCI were members of an international narcotics trafficking and money laundering organization involved in trafficking hundreds of kilograms of cocaine and heroin, among other narcotics, and laundering hundreds of millions of dollars in narcotics proceeds through a variety of methods, including through seemingly “legitimate” corporations, shell bank accounts, and money couriers based in the United States and Europe. MAGNI and MANCI were arrested in Italy and taken into custody by the Italian authorities pursuant to an extradition request made by the United States in January 2017.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: “As alleged, Filippo Magni and Giacomo Manci were key members of an international drug trafficking organization responsible for cleaning more than $250 million of drug dollars, ensuring that their criminal network could spend their illegal profits. Now, Magni is on U.S. soil and will have to answer for his alleged crimes.”

DEA Special Agent in Charge David J. Downing said: “This extradition demonstrates the reach of US law enforcement and exemplifies successful collaborations between federal, state, and local as well as international law enforcement. Targeting the financial components of these organizations – no matter where in the world those components are located – enables us to put drug traffickers completely out of business.”

According to the allegations in the Indictment [1], the previously filed criminal complaints against the defendants, and statements made in Court:

The Investigation

Since July 2013, the DEA has been investigating an international drug trafficking and money laundering organization (the “Organization”) and its cartel clients, which together have been involved in trafficking hundreds of kilograms of cocaine and heroin, among other narcotics, and laundering narcotics proceeds through a variety of methods. The Organization has ties to Panama, Mexico, Italy, Spain, and the United States, among other locations, and its members are believed to include the defendants.

MAGNI and MANCI are charged with membership in the Organization, which was led by Jesus Rodriguez-Jimenez. Rodriguez-Jimenez, along with five co-defendants, were charged for their participation in the conspiracy in June 2016 in the Southern District of New York. In June 2017, Rodriguez-Jimenez pled guilty to offenses stemming from his leadership role in the organization, and for laundering in excess of $250 million in proceeds on behalf of drug cartels in Mexico and Central America.

This case is also related to the prosecution of Roberto Ponce-Rocha, a large-scale international narcotics trafficker based in Central and South America, who used various methods, including commercial shipments, drivers, and couriers to move narcotics around the world, and to import narcotics into the United States. Ponce-Rocha and three other individuals were indicted separately in 2016. In June 2017, Ponce-Rocha pled guilty to conspiring to import narcotics into the United States.

MAGNI and MANCI were essential players in the Organization, providing money laundering expertise in Europe and the United States, and facilitating the European distribution of narcotics provided by Roberto Ponce-Rocha. For example, in August of 2013, MAGNI met with Ponce-Rocha in Panama to arrange for the shipment of vast amounts of narcotics to Italy; to this end, a test shipment of cocaine was sent to MANCI.

MAGNI facilitated the laundering of narcotics proceeds for the Organization in Italy, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

In January 2014, MAGNI and MANCI laundered hundreds of thousands of dollars in narcotics proceeds through a Las Vegas casino, and later deposited the laundered cash into bank accounts controlled by the Organization.

In February 2014, MAGNI and other members of the Organization orchestrated the physical movement of nearly a million dollars in narcotics proceeds across the United States. MANCI, along with a co-conspirator, was arrested in Chicago while transporting this cash in a roller suitcase through an Amtrak station.

These activities were interconnected with the Organization’s front companies, including an LED screens business in Las Vegas, as well as stash houses operated by the Organization in various cities throughout the United States, including Atlanta and Philadelphia, in order to receive drug proceeds from criminal clients who wanted those proceeds funneled into the international banking system. The Organization also arranged and facilitated cash money pick-ups in, among other places, New York City and Atlanta, receiving cash from narcotics traffickers and bringing that cash to co-conspirators with directions to wire it to shell accounts in Mexico, Hong Kong, and Italy, among other places.

In this way, the Organization laundered hundreds of millions of dollars through the international banking system, and facilitated the distribution of hundreds of kilograms of cocaine and heroin, among other narcotics.

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MAGNI, 44, of Rome, Italy, and MANCI, 55, of Rome, Italy, are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and one count of conspiracy to distribute narcotics, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. The statutory maximum penalties in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Berman praised the DEA for its work in the investigation. Mr. Berman also expressed his appreciation to the Italian Government and Italian law enforcement in executing the arrests and preparing for extradition of the defendants to the United States.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Money Laundering and Asset Forfeiture Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Andrew C. Adams and Noah Falk are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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