The federal government has charged 28 people in an alleged stratagem since 2015 to launder $10 million in Mexican drug cartel cash at a small clothing store in Dallas.
Yoli’s Western Wear, the supposed crime hub, is tucked in a corner of southeast Dallas on Buckner Boulevard.
Federal authorities say the criminal enterprise was an operation of the New Generation Cartel of Jalisco (CJNG), a violent Mexican drug cartel that uses Dallas as one of its epicenters.
The operatives will face the music in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, where they have been indicted for various money laundering, controlled substance, and firearm related offenses.
Among the defendants charged is a CJNG plaza boss, Jose Jimenez, who goes by several nicknames, including “Coli.” In a drug cartel, a plaza boss is a sidekick to a “regional commander,” who answers directly to the leader of the cartel.
At Coli’s behest, the manager of Yoli’s Western Wear, 23-year-old Ivan Valerio, is accused of laundering the revenue from the sale of methamphetamine and heroin in the Dallas area by CJNG.
The U.S. attorney says Valerio’s offenses were aided by his parents and sister. Along with Coli, he faces spending the rest of his life in federal prison, according to a Justice Department press release.
Jesus “Chucho” Aguilar, whose nickname is Spanish for “mutt,” was one of the defendants who helped move the cash to Yoli’s Western Wear. One defendant’s last name is unknown, but he goes by “Gordo.”
Aguilar and “Gordo” were among many persons charged with helping move cash from dealers to other participants in the operation, including to the money launderers at Yoli’s Western Wear.
The superseding indictment says that U.S. authorities seized 140 kilograms of methamphetamine at the border between the U.S. and Mexico as the offenders were trying to transport illegal drugs into Texas, which was part of Coli’s operation.
One drug smuggler, Joel Torres, was caught after he tried to bring 81 kilograms of methamphetamine into Texas from Mexico, court documents say.
Special Agent in Charge Eduardo Chávez of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Dallas Field Division pointed to the agency’s efforts to halt illegal drug activity in North Texas.
“Addiction to drugs has many different faces. In this instance, the addiction to money and greed has met its consequences,” Chávez said.
“Despite CJNG’s efforts to disguise their illegal activities into our North Texas communities, the DEA will seek to starve it of every last drug dollar and achieve justice for all those involved.”
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Hayden Sparks is a reporter for The Texan in Dallas. During the academic year, he coaches high school competitive speech and debate and has also been involved in community theater and politics. A native Texan, Hayden served as a delegate at the Republican Party of Texas Convention in 2016. He is on track to receive a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Liberty University. In his free time, Hayden is known to take walks around the neighborhood while listening to random music on Spotify.