U.S. Attorney David DeVillers secured two convictions Friday in multi-million dollar money laundering scheme.
The final two defendants pleaded guilty Friday to taking part in a drug trafficking and money laundering conspiracy using supposed cell phone shops as fronts.
A press release says the stores did “little if any” legitimate business and were instead a vehicle for moving money from drug sales in Central Ohio to Mexico. The shop owners wired funds across the border thousands of times under falsified names to conceal the money’s true origin.
“Thanks to our law enforcement partners,” DeVillers writes in the release, “at least 40 defendants are no longer doing business in Central Ohio and a significant amount of illegal drugs have been removed from our community.”
Prosecutors say the conspirators moved $44 million this way over the course of about six years.
In all, the investigation led to federal charges against eight people, and state charges against 35 more. Officials seized heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, marijuana and almost half a million dollars in cash as part of the case.