Houston-area woman pleads guilty in huge money laundering case

A woman from Montgomery, Texas is now one of many defendants to plead guilty in a drug conspiracy case, court records show.

On Monday, Monica Fonseca agreed to plead guilty to the criminal charges she faced in a nearly 30-person drug smuggling and money laundering case in which she was charged with 20 counts of money laundering, the record shows.

Fonseca, 29, was named as a defendant as part of a federal investigation that alleged she took part in the movement of hundreds of kilos of cocaine and money laundering beginning in May 2012 until the filing of the indictment on May 22, 2018.

Fonseca was arrested in June 2018 and made her initial appearance that same month.

Authorities said Fonseca conspired with others to distribute 5 kilograms or more “of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine,” court documents show.

Fonseca also allegedly hid the funds derived from the sale of the cocaine between April 2013 and December 2014, records show.

She joins 20 others who have been named in the indictment, the majority of whom are from Houston.

Houston residents who face various distribution and money laundering charges, according to court documents, are DeAllen Nettles, 31; Michael Graves, 44; Daniel Mayorquin Carrillo, 30; Christopher Ham, 25; Ruby Guzman, 31; Michael Tovar; Rudis Edgardo Zelaya, 50; Maria E. Garcia, Liang Guo Yu, 57; Jonathen Xie; and Esteban Solomon Cortez, 29.

Montgomery resident Juan Manuel Fonseca, 46, and Kingwood resident Reyes Rodriguez Hernandez III, 35, also face these charges.

In addition, Mercedes residents Virgil Lee Carrillo, 29; Eric Carrillo, 23; Eric Jason Gomez, 35; and Romulo Chapa, 43, of Weslaco, Jorge Reynaldo Tamez, 38, of Pharr, and Jacob Garcia, 32, of McAllen, also pleaded guilty to varying amounts of distribution and money laundering charges related to the indictment.

Only two of the aforementioned defendants are in federal custody pending their respective trial proceedings — everyone else is currently free on bond, court notes show.

Fonseca will remain on bond pending her transfer to a bureau of prisons facility.


lzazueta@themonitor.com