A federal judge Friday sentenced a Texas perfume vendor with Arizona connections to nearly 20 years in prison for his involvement in a money-laundering scheme that prosecutors said aided the Sinaloa cartel.
Vikram Datta, 51, an Indian immigrant who did business in New York, New Jersey, Texas, Arizona and California was convicted in September of two counts of money-laundering conspiracy and one count of conspiracy to violate the travel act. Datta was sentenced to 235 months in prison after prosecutors convinced a Manhattan jury he was heavily involved in the Black Market Peso Exchange.
Extract from the order:
From June 2009 until January 2011, DATTA operated a business that sold significant amounts of perfume to Mexican purchasers. As payment, he accepted millions of dollars in cash that had been generated from drug sales in the United States. After the drugs were sold in the United States, the proceeds (“narco dollars”) were smuggled to Mexico, where they were aggregated and stored. Mexican money exchange businesses then purchased the narco dollars in exchange for Mexican pesos at a steep discount from the prevailing inter-bank exchange rate. The exchange businesses later transported the narco dollars back into the United States and used them to purchase perfume at businesses, including DATTA’s, located in Laredo, Texas, that would then ship the perfume to purchasers in Mexico.
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