Published: Wednesday, August 30, 2017 @ 3:30 PM
By: Mark Gokavi - Staff Writer
The 21-year-old man accused of having $200,000 in drug trafficking money was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison.
Josue Amaya-Salazar had pleaded guilty by bill of information in Dayton’s U.S. District Court to one count of attempted international money laundering.
U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Rose accepted the plea deal between the parties for a three-year sentence and credited Amaya-Salazar with jail-time credit since his March arrest.
Federal public defender Art Mullins told Rose that Amaya-Salazar indicated that cartel members wanted him to launder money because he could get a visa, that he initially refused and that he ultimately agreed because he feared for his family.
Mullins said a letter from his client said that he knows he will be deported after his sentence, has seen how drugs hurt the United States and he plans to never return again from Mexico. Through an interpreter, Amaya-Salazar apologized and asked for forgiveness.
Rose agreed to recommend to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons that Amaya-Salazar be incarcerated in Texas or as close to the Mexican border as possible.
As part of the plea one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin was dismissed.
Amaya-Salazar admitted that on March 16, 2017, he attempted to transport about $200,000 in drug money — prosecutors initially said the total was closer to $300,000 — from the United States to Mexico. The money was to go to another person and then be transferred to drug traffickers in Mexico.