Mexican horse trainer who laundered for cartel is sentenced to 2.5 years in the U.S.

 “MX” for Borderland Beat; The Monitor

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A Mexican City man who was recruited to work for a drug trafficking organization will serve a 30-month federal prison sentence in connection with his arrest in a bulk cash case, records show. On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Randy Crane handed down the punishment for Jorge Alberto Ruiz-Periban, a resident of Mexico City, in connection with a January 2020 arrest at a U.S. port of entry, records show.

Ruiz-Periban, attempting to enter Mexico through the Anzalduas port of entry, was arrested after U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers discovered $570,247 inside a spare tire in his vehicle. The Mexican national gave a negative declaration for more than $10,000, stating he was traveling from Mission into Mexico. Ruiz-Periban was sentenced after reaching an agreement with government prosecutors in April.

According to a news release from the U.S Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas, the 35-year-old man admitted he attempted to evade currency reporting laws when he attempted to enter Mexico with more than $570,000 in cash found inside his vehicle.

“At the time of his plea, Ruiz-Periban admitted he intended to evade the currency reporting requirement and intended to transport the money he hid in the tire from Mission to Mexico,” the release stated.

The court noted the man, a horse trainer by trade, was recruited by a Mexican drug trafficking organization to smuggle bulk cash derived from the illicit drug trade. Special Agent in Charge Shane Folden, of Homeland Security Investigations in San Antonio, said in a prepared statement that the man’s sentencing is evidence of the seriousness of his crimes, which he says are motivated by greed.

He said bulk cash smuggling “contributes to the cartel violence that damages communities on both sides of the border.”

According to a website named Heritage Place, which sells horses on its website, Ruiz-Periban’s name is listed and associated with the purchase of four horses. The purchases took place at a yearly horse sale in Oklahoma in September 2019.

The Mexican man apparently purchased four horses, one coincidentally named “Cartel Get Away,” according to the Heritage Place’s sale list. Ruiz-Periban, who does not have authorization to remain in the country, will likely be deported upon completion of his prison term.