A now-fired teller at a Tenderloin check cashing joint has been charged by the feds for laundering money under the table to Mexico for at least one known drug dealer.
It is well-established that the Tenderloin drug trade is not an entirely homegrown operation, but has wild connections to Mexico and Central America. We have another example of this in a recent federal arrest and criminal charging of a now-fired Tenderloin check cashing employee accused of laundering wire transfer money to Mexico for at least one drug dealer, according to the Chronicle.
42-year-old Yessenia Margarita Barrientos-Lainez of Daly City was arrested last Thursday for conspiring to launder drug money, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The specific check-cashing service is not named, the feds merely describe it as “a money services business in the Tenderloin district.”
The Chronicle reports that the drug dealer she’d allegedly been conspiring with had already been arrested in June. Barrientos-Lainez was apparently fired in mid-May for leaving the office to grab a bag of cash from a car outside the store, likely in connection with this scheme.
According the federal criminal complaint, Barrientos-Lainez “used her position there to launder the drug proceeds of an unnamed co-conspirator—a man who was known to DEA agents as a Bay Area drug trafficker and who was arrested in possession of narcotics on June 1, 2023, in Daly City—by wiring significant sums of cash to various foreign bank accounts, including some in Mexico, at the unnamed co-conspirator’s direction.”
The SF Standard has the additional information that the amount illegally wired was more than $22,000, and describes the unnamed drug dealer as Barrientos-Lainez’s “lover.” They also describe the dealer as a “street-level dealer” whose phone the DEA had wiretapped after months of making undercover buys from him.
Barrientos-Lainez is scheduled to appear in court today. If convicted, she faces a possible 20-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $500,000.
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