A U.S. District Court judge in San Francisco on Thursday sentenced a man who evaded authorities for 11 years to 41 months in prison for attempting to launder money from heroin sales, federal prosecutors said. Judge Jeffrey White handed down the sentence to Ruben Rivera, who pleaded guilty last Oct. 4 to trying to smuggle into Mexico $43,658 from heroin sales in the United States back in 2001, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Rivera had received the money from his co-defendant, Luis Manuel Garcia “Piojo” Hernandez, who was sentenced earlier to 135 months in federal prison for conspiring to distribute heroin , according to U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag. Rivera, who knew that Hernandez was a heroin dealer with contacts in Mexico, was stopped on May 11, 2001 at the U.S.-Mexican border at Nogales, Ariz. by U.S. border agents who seized the money from him, federal prosecutors said.
On June 18, 2001, Rivera was charged with attempting to transport more than $10,000 in U.S. currency without filing a report but after he was released on bond in Arizona, he fled and became a fugitive, according to prosecutors. He was charged in federal court in San Francisco on Nov. 6, 2001 with conspiring to distribute heroin but remained a fugitive on both charges until Jan. 17, 2013, when deputies of the U.S. Marshals Service arrested him in Illinois. Rivera, in his attempt to transport heroin proceeds to Mexico, intended to facilitate a large heroin distribution network, according to Haag. White imposed a sentencing enhancement against Rivera for obstruction of justice based on the years Rivera was a fugitive, prosecutors said.
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