Mexican national sentenced for role in drug trafficking conspiracy and money laundering


Date: June 28, 2023


DENVER — The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Colorado announces that Carlos Quijano-Ruiz of Mexico, was sentenced to five years in federal prison for his role in a drug trafficking conspiracy and money laundering.

According to the plea agreement, in 2019, the defendant went to a money remitter in Colorado and remitted, in two separate transactions, money that was from the sale of drugs to a fictious name in Mexico. That money would ultimately go to a co-defendant and was transferred or distributed to disguise the nature of the proceeds of unlawful activity. Additionally, in furtherance of the conspiracy, the defendant placed a bag of narcotics in his car that was parked in front of his residence. On August 12, 2019, another co-defendant and an unindicted co-conspirator went to the defendant's car, where they picked up a quarter pound of methamphetamine and left money in the car. The defendant's residence was also used as a stash house for a time during the conspiracy.

"Our office prosecutes illegal narcotics trafficking, working investigations to their sources in other countries," said U.S. Attorney Cole Finegan. "We commend the work of our law enforcement partners in advancing this and other important transnational narcotics investigations."

"By targeting the transactions drug traffickers use to finance their illegal operations, IRS-CI Special Agents are able to disrupt and dismantle these organizations," said Andy Tsui, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation Denver Field Office. "We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners, and the United States Attorney's Office to eliminate this threat to our communities. This sentence should send a clear message to others who engage in money laundering associated with narcotics, you will be caught and you will be prosecuted."

"Drug traffickers value money and little else," said DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge David Olesky of the Rocky Mountain Field Division. "In this case, investigators not only pursued the drugs but also followed the money. As a result of everyone's efforts, Quijano-Ruiz is no longer distributing poison in our communities. We value our state, local and federal partners who were relentless in seeing this case through to the end. DEA will continue to target criminal networks at every level, and every angle, because we know American lives depend on it."

United States District Court Judge Gordon P. Gallagher presided over the sentencing on June 27, 2023.

IRS-CI, the DEA, the Montrose Police Department, the Montrose County Sheriff's Office, the Seventh Judicial District Drug Task Force, and the United States Marshals Service investigated this case. Assistant United States Attorneys Alexander Duncan, Susan (Zeke) Knox, and Zachary Phillips handled the prosecution.