Car­tel

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - OBITUARIES -

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.

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