By  on January 23, 2012

A Manhattan Federal Court hit a Texas perfume businessman with nearly 20 years in prison for laundering over $25 million in cash for the Sinaloa Mexican drug cartel.

After pleading guilty to conspiracy charges in September, Vikram Datta, 51, was sentenced Friday to 235 months in jail. Datta, the owner of multiple perfume stores located on the U.S.-Mexico border, operated a business that accepted millions of dollars in cash that had been generated from drug sales in the U.S.

According to Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, after the drugs were sold in the U.S., the proceeds were smuggled to Mexico where they were aggregated and stored. Mexican money exchange businesses purchased the proceeds in exchange for Mexican pesos at a steep discount from the prevailing inter-bank exchange rate. The exchange businesses later transported the proceeds back to the U.S. and used them to purchase perfume at businesses such as Datta’s Laredo, Tex.-based stores, that would then ship the perfume to purchasers in Mexico.

The Drug Enforcement Admin-istration estimated that Datta deposited more than $25 million in bank accounts from June 2009 to January 2011, and failed to file financial reports concerning these transactions.

Datta’s sentencing is the culmination of an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration investigation into the Colombian and Mexican Black Market Peso Exchange, in which 29 individuals have been charged and 21 have been convicted to date.

To access this article, click here to subscribe or to log in.

load comments
blog comments powered by Disqus