Father and son sentenced on drug and money laundering crimes


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Date: December 3, 2020

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

Louisville, KY - Jose Manuel Prieto, Jr., of Apple Valley, California, was sentenced to 97 months of imprisonment for his involvement in a methamphetamine distribution and money laundering conspiracy. He pleaded guilty to the aforementioned charges on August 19, 2020.

His son, Louis Michael Prieto, of Los Angeles, California, was previously sentenced on the same charges in October 2020 to 87 months of imprisonment. Louis Michael Prieto pleaded guilty on July 14, 2020.

"The laundering of illegal drug profits is as important and essential to drug traffickers as the very distribution of their illegal drugs," said Bryant Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office. "We are committed to taking drug proceeds away from the drug traffickers and putting those individuals in jail."

According to court documents, in or about February 2016 and August 2018, in Jefferson County, Kentucky and elsewhere, Louis Prieto and Jose Manuel Prieto Jr. conspired with each other and others to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine. The defendants were part of a drug trafficking organization that distributed the methamphetamine to several states including Kentucky.

From approximately September 2017 through April 2018, the Prietos conspired to launder proceeds of narcotics trafficking. The defendants and their associates purchased at last 137 blank payee money orders using proceeds of their narcotics trafficking which totaled at least $111,100 in drug proceeds. The money orders were mailed to third parties in California and deposited or cashed in different manners, but at all times the proceeds were actually owned and controlled by the Prietos.

The Prietos also used a credit card held by an unindicted coconspirator to promote drug trafficking by paying for related travel expenses with the credit card and then paying the credit card bills with drug proceeds.

Approximately ten kilograms of methamphetamine were seized during the investigation.

"I'm extremely proud of the work done by our agents and their counterparts at the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation," said Special Agent in Charge Todd Scott, head of DEA's Louisville Division. "Mr. Prieto's sentencing represents the end of a cross-country criminal enterprise that pumped drugs into the Louisville area, preying on those who suffer from the disease of addiction."

The investigation was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation and Drug Enforcement Administration. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Alicia Gomez and Corinne Keel.

This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.