der fake names, then write checks to a produce company in San Diego controlled by the cartel.
An undercover investigator wearing a wire recorded her calling the assignment a “hassle,” but safer than her previous gig.
After her handler told her there was “a lot of work” for her in New York, she and her brother, a legal resident with an Alaska address, set up shop at a Manhattan hotel in the summer of 2013.
She preferred to collect payments from local drug dealers in midtown, rather than in their home territories in the Bronx or Washington Heights, for security reasons.
“Like a friend of mine said: ‘This is a business for tough people,’” she said in a conversation with the undercover agent. “And it’s all based in trust.”
While under investigation, the siblings made at least two dozen deposits in amounts ranging from about $8,100 to $9,600 at banks located from the Upper West Side to Canal Street.
Following the money trail was worthwhile to “gain insight into the practices” of the cartels, said Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan, whose office prosecuted the case.
At Francisco Salgado’s sentencing, his lawyer, Jeffrey Taub, portrayed him as a small fish in “an unfortunate situation.”
The penalties for the launderers can be lighter than in bigger federal conspiracy cases. The brother and sister took plea deals resulting in sentences of 16 months to 4 years.
Alejandra Salgado’s attorney, Robert W. Georges, said it’s certain his client will be deported once she serves her time — a fate she’s accepted.
“She’s remorseful and looking forward to getting on with her life in Mexico,” Georges said.
Prison and deportation probably wasn’t what Salgado had in mind when she told an undercover agent, in a recorded call, that being a money courier was a nice way to make a living in a treacherous drug world.
“I live in peace and I live tranquil,” she said.