CHICAGO, USA — A Chinese national living in Illinois was sentenced to 14 years in prison for laundering illegal narcotics proceeds on behalf of drug traffickers in Mexico.
The sentence was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; R. Sean Fitzgerald, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Chicago; and Tamera Cantu, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago.
Xianbing Gan, 51, was remanded immediately after sentencing.
“The defendant was part of a recent phenomenon in which a relatively small network of Chinese money brokers based in Mexico have come to dominate international money laundering markets,” assistant US attorneys Sean J.B. Franzblau and Richard M. Rothblatt argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum. “Like defendant, many of these brokers are also engaged in a legitimate business and use that business as a cover to further money laundering activity. It does not matter that defendant never personally distributed narcotics – drug distribution and money laundering are two sides of the same malignant coin.”
Gan schemed in 2018 to have approximately $534,206 in narcotics proceeds picked up in Chicago and transferred to various bank accounts in China, with the money ultimately intended for drug traffickers in Mexico. Unbeknownst to Gan, a purported money courier who picked up the drug proceeds in Chicago was an undercover law enforcement agent.
Gan facilitated the money transfers while residing in Guadalajara, Mexico. US authorities arrested him in November 2018, at Los Angeles International Airport during a layover on a flight from Hong Kong to Mexico. He has remained in US custody since then.
A federal jury in Chicago last year convicted Gan on three counts of money laundering and one count of operating an unlicensed money transmitting business. US District Judge Thomas M. Durkin imposed the sentence today after a hearing in federal court in Chicago.
HSI is a directorate of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 Special Agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries.
HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in US law enforcement.