Restaurateurs have forfeited another $900, 000 to the government following an allegation that the money was part of a drug black money scheme involving Wyoming and Colorado fast-food restaurants to Mexican drug cartels. This followed the latest forfeiture of another $200,000 that has been turned over to the government since the case became public in early 2019. In June 2018, the federal agents seized some safe-deposit boxes one of which was filled with cash. Both safe deposit boxes were registered in the name of Rodriguez-Lopez. One was also registered in Adriana Rodriguez’s name. This was disclosed in the prosecutors’ filing.
The documents revealed that El Potosino Foods, a Colorado food supplier was alleged to have sent invoices that indicate that the restaurant and food distributor siphoned money by inflating food prices to camouflage drug money as payment for ingredients.
Rodolfo’s Mexican Grill in Cheyenne, Rolando’s Mexican Grill in Cheyenne and Almanza’s Mexican Food in Laramie are among restaurants named in the civil case are. Even though the Laramie restaurant is named in the civil filings, which began in November, there has been no public request by the government regarding the forfeiture of any of its money, save for an account opened in Aguilar-Martinez’s name but that authorities said was associated with the restaurant. An attorney for the restaurant’s owners has said his clients strongly denied wrongdoing. The civil filings also indicate an account associated with Rolando’s Mexican Grill closed before law enforcement began investigating the case.
Many named restaurants denied the governments’ claims and asked for the return of the money. A judge in April of last year denied a request to dismiss the case. The same month, prosecutors asked that the case be put on hold, saying they needed first to focus on a related criminal investigation. That six-month hold was renewed in October. The government has twice since filed sealed updates to the court.