U.S. Attorney’s Office May 21, 2013; "THE CARS ARE THE CASH"
ORLANDO—United States District Judge Roy B. Dalton, Jr. sentenced Joel Torres (41, Apopka) to 40 months in federal prison for money laundering and failing to file IRS Forms 8300 (a report required for cash purchases over $10,000). A federal jury found Torres guilty On December 3, 2012. According to court documents, Torres, the president of JM2 Auto Sales Inc. in Apopka, laundered narcotics proceeds for the Gulf Cartel, a drug trafficking organization based in Mexico. Torres received cash and then sent vehicles back to members of the Cartel in Texas. He also sold vehicles to local Cartel members. During this joint investigative effort, law enforcement seized more than 6,000 pounds of marijuana, more than 70 firearms—including assault weapons and bullet proof vests—and nearly $1 million.
Torres is the 11th person convicted as a part of this investigation. Previously, Eladio Marroquin-Medina (30, Apopka), the vice president at JM2 Auto Sales Inc., was sentenced to 72 months’ imprisonment for conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute over 1,000 kilograms of marijuana and conspiracy to commit money laundering. This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations; the Drug Enforcement Administration; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Apopka Police Department; the Orange County Sheriff’s Office; and the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Christopher LaForgia and Shawn Napier.
JM2 AUTO SALES INC.
2636 FLORAL AVENUE
APOPKA, FL 32703
According to court documents, Medina and Torres laundered narcotics proceeds for the Gulf Cartel, at their car dealership in Apopka Fl. The Gulf Cartel was a drug trafficking organization based out of Mexico. As payment for vehicles, Medina and Torres received money that was derived from narcotics sales. These vehicles were sent back to members of the cartel in Texas, and were also used by local cartel members in Florida. At one point during the money laundering conspiracy, from October 26, 2010 to November 16, 2010, one cartel member brought more than $115,000 in cash into JM2 for the purchase of vehicles.
The feds learned that Gulf Cartel operatives Daniel Nunez and Adolfo Tamez, who were based in McAllen, coordinated the marijuana shipments to the Sunshine state; sometimes up to 3,000 pounds per load. Tamez also handled the transportation of cash made from the pot deals back to McAllen. The marijuana would arrive at the Panama City Fl Port, where it was broken up for distribution to Jacksonville and other central Florida cities. Once the local pot suppliers collected all the cash, they would round up all the money and drive it back to Panama City Fl Port.
Every time they delivered cash, the suppliers received a new shipment of marijuana. In Apopka, the cartel met Medina and Torres, who had no problem selling them cars for their illicit cash. The feds cracked the operation using a Mexican confidential informant who helped the government to make sure his parents would not be deported back to his home country, where they had once been kidnapped by members of rival cartel, Los Zetas.
Bill Warner Private Investigator Sarasota Fl at www.wbipi.com