CHICAGO - A suburban Chicago man was sentenced to seven years in federal prison Tuesday after he was convicted of laundering illegal narcotics proceeds on behalf of drug traffickers in Mexico.
Huazhi Han, 43, of North Riverside, schemed with a person in Mexico in the fall of 2017 to facilitate the receipt of roughly $1.5 million in narcotics proceeds in the United States.
According to prosecutors, Han picked up the money from people in the Chicago area and used the cash to purchase and then re-sell electronic devices.
Han and another individual then sent the money back to the traffickers in Mexico, prosecutors said.
In November 2017, prosecutors said Han attempted to receive approximately $100,000 in narcotics money from a dealer.
He was in possession of about $200,000 in cash, a firearm and two loaded magazines.
A search was conducted of Han's residence and law enforcement found a money counter, multiple firearms, more than $1.1 million in cash that was concealed in cookie tins inside of a drop ceiling in the basement and about $200,000 in cash in vacuum-sealed packaging in the basement closet.
Han was arrested in June 2018 after he received about $192,000 in money that was represented to Han to be drug money. Han was in possession of a loaded firearm at that time.
In March, a federal jury convicted Han on all four charges against him — including one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, one count of attempted concealment money laundering, one count of conducting a financial transaction with funds represented to be drug proceeds and one count of operating an unlicensed money transmitting business.
Han also has to forfeit about $1.5 million in cash, four handguns, a 2016 Mercedes-Benz, a 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan and an iPhone.
U.S. District Judge Andrea R. Wood sentenced Han on Friday to 84 months. She also imposed a three-year term of supervised release.