The leader of a money laundering network was sentenced today to 15 years in prison for laundering tens of millions of dollars in drug proceeds on behalf of foreign drug trafficking organizations.
According to court documents, Xizhi Li, 48, a U.S. citizen who previously lived in Mexico, led a year-long money laundering plan on behalf of transnational drug trafficking organizations. To carry out the plan, Li and his conspirators used a foreign casino; foreign and domestic front companies; Foreign and domestic bank accounts (some of which were opened under fictitious identities, encrypted communication platforms, and forged identification documents. Li often dealt directly with members of drug trafficking organizations or their agents in order to obtain “contracts” to transfer their drug revenues. Once Li and his co-conspirators If they were given a “contract” to launder drug revenues, they would be involved in financial transactions designed to hide the illegal source of the original revenues in exchange for the payment of commissions.
On August 2nd, Li pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to commit money laundering. Today, in line with his plea, Li signed a US $ 10,000,000 confiscation warrant to the United States.
This was announced by Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Police Department and US Attorney Jessica D. Aber of the Eastern District of Virginia.
The Louisville Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the DEA’s Special Operations Division – Bilateral Investigations Unit investigated this case with the assistance of the DEA’s Office of Special Intelligence, Document and Media Exploitation Unit and the DEA offices in New York, Chicago , Los Angeles, Houston, Omaha, Atlanta, Newark, Portland Dallas, Mexico City, Merida (Mexico), Guatemala City, Belmopan (Belize), Beijing, Hong Kong, Jakarta (Indonesia), Manila (Philippines), Tokyo, Seoul , Bangkok, Lima (Peru) and Canberra (Australia). The U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Security (DSS), Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Home Security Investigations (HSI), the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Interpol, and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection National Target Center (CBP) were Partners in the investigation of this case.
These charges are part of two investigations supported by the Organized Crime Task Force known as Operation Dark Castle and Operation Taishan Triangle.
Litigation Attorneys Kerry Blackburn, Mary K. Daly, and Stephen A. Sola of the Criminal Investigation Department of Money Laundering and Asset Recovery; and U.S. Assistant Attorneys David A. Peters and Michael P. Ben’Ary of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia was pursuing the case.