Wives of Chicago drug traffickers, who helped put 'El Chapo' behind bars, plead guilty to money laundering
CHICAGO - The wives of convicted drug traffickers Pedro Flores and Margarito Flores pleaded guilty to laundering drug proceeds, prosecutors announced Thursday.
Vivianna Lopez, also known as "Mia Flores," 42, and Valerie Gaytan, also known as "Olivia Flores," 47, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
In their plea agreements, the two women confirmed that from December 2008 until March 2020, they conspired with each other, as well as others, to conduct financial transactions involving drug proceeds knowing the transactions were designed in part to conceal the nature of the proceeds.
Additionally, the agreements state that between at least May 2005 and December 2008, the Flores twins, Pedro and Margarito, operated a Chicago-based distribution cell for the Sinaloa Cartel and the Beltran Leyva Organization.
The distribution cell involved the transportation and distribution of hundreds of kilograms of cocaine and kilogram quantities of heroin per month to customers in Chicago, Columbus, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, New York, Washington, D.C., Detroit, Los Angeles and Vancouver.
This generated hundreds of millions of dollars of proceeds from the sale of narcotics, prosecutors said.
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Their husbands' cooperation began in November 2008, and according to their plea agreements, Lopez and Gaytan stored cash drug proceeds from their husbands' drug operations.
The proceeds were accessed and spent for the benefit of themselves and others until 2020, prosecutors said.
The money was allegedly spent on various items, including more than $165,000 in private school tuition for Lopez and Gaytan's children, more than $99,000 in international and domestic travel by the two of them, more than $80,000 for Lopez’s residential rent and about $11,000 in child support for a child of one of the incarcerated husbands.
Both have agreed to the government’s forfeiture request of $504,858, prosecutors said.
Gaytan pleaded guilty on April 15 and Lopez pleaded guilty Thursday.
Laura Lopez also pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering Thursday.
Sentencing dates have not yet been set.