SAN ANTONIO, TX - On June 11, U.S. District Judge Fred Biery sentenced Juan Pablos Hoyos Avila, 19, to five years in federal prison for attempting to smuggle more than $879,000 in drug proceeds back to Mexico.
Hoyos was attending the University of The Incarnate Word, a private Catholic university in San Antonio, on a student visa.
In a press release, the U.S. Department of Justice stated:
"On March 17, 2020, Hoyos Avila pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. According to court records, on July 16, 2018, Hoyos Avila and Rafael Gabriel Martinez Leal, a 22-year-old citizen of Mexico, were on a private plane at San Antonio International Airport bound for Mexico with $879,695 in undeclared U.S. currency.
Inside the plane, authorities located the money inside a suitcase and inside cardboard packaging for an 18” box fan...
'This sentence represents the seriousness of these crimes and serves as an appropriate punishment for Juan Pablo Hoyos Avila. The smuggling of bulk cash often contributes to the cartel violence that damages communities on both sides of the border. HSI will continue to utilize its broad investigative authorities to dismantle transnational criminal organizations who blatantly ignore the laws of this nation,' stated HSI Special Agent in Charge Folden."
Hoyos Avila admitted that he has been smuggling about $1 million a week, and was paid approximately $35,000 a week to do so, according to court documents.