Two Argentine nationals and two local jewelry dealers have been convicted of laundering up to $1 billion in Columbian drug profits through jewelry markets in Houston, Los Angeles, Miami and New York.
It was the biggest money-laundering case ever tried in this country, prosecutors said.Raul Vivas, 38, of Argentina, and jewelry dealers Nazareth and Vahe Andonian of Los Angeles each were convicted Wednesday of 25 felony counts of money laundering and one count of conspiracy to launder money.
Juan Carlos Seresi, also from Argentina, was convicted of 20 felony money-laundering counts and a conspiracy count.
Each money-laundering count carries a maximum 20-year prison term. The conspiracy count carries a maximum prison term of five years.
Federal-court jurors said they were unable to reach verdicts on narcotics-conspiracy counts against the four defendants. The panel also failed to reach verdicts on 27 counts against Ruben Saini, another Argentine, accused of helping to destroy evidence.
U.S. District Judge William Keller ordered jurors Thursday to resume deliberations on those counts.