Date: March 26, 2021 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Orlando, FL — U.S. District Judge Paul G. Byron has sentenced Melvin Rodriguez (Plant City) to five years and four months in federal prison for money laundering. The court also ordered Rodriguez to forfeit $26,000, which is traceable to proceeds of the offense. Rodriguez had pleaded guilty on January 4, 2021. According to court documents, from December 2019 through February 12, 2020, Rodriguez laundered approximately $260,000 in bulk cash that he believed to be the proceeds of narcotics sales. During this period, Rodriguez owned a tire shop in Plant City and used his business to launder what he believed to be drug money. As a part of his scheme, Rodriguez opened bank accounts at different banks and utilized a system of micro-structuring to avoid detection of his criminal activities. "The combined efforts of the federal, state, and local agencies comprising the Federal Financial Crimes Task Force led to a successful resolution in this case, demonstrating just how impactful law enforcement can be in the fight to rid our communities of crime," stated Special Agent in Charge Brian Payne of IRS Criminal Investigation. "This IRS led initiative is designed to harness the best each participating agency and department has to offer. We are proud to work with our partners to uncover and investigate financial and other related crimes." This case was investigated by Internal Revenue Service Federal Financial Crimes Task Force, including IRS – Criminal Investigation, the Osceola County Sheriff's Office, the St. Cloud Police Department, the Winter Park Police Department, and the Kissimmee Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Amanda Daniels.