Beeville couple convicted in cocaine, money laundering case
April 30, 2012 at 7:03 p.m.
Updated April 29, 2012 at 11:30 p.m.
A Beeville couple was convicted Monday on drug distribution and money laundering charges in federal court.
Casimiro Dimas Salinas, 62, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
His wife, Patsy Gail Salinas, 53, pleaded to structuring financial transactions, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson said in a news release.
In January, Casimiro Salinas drove his pickup into the Falfurrias checkpoint, at which time a drug dog alerted prompting Border Patrol agents to inspect the truck.
During the search, officers found a hand-built toolbox in the bed of the truck that contained 60 bundles of cocaine wrapped in black tape.
Officials estimated the drugs to be worth about $4.7 million.
The continued investigation centered large cash transaction and cash purchases of property.
Agents were able to locate several properties purchased in Beeville, a condo in Las Vegas, and several luxury vehicles purchased in Houston.
On Jan. 19, Drug Enforcement Administration and Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigations agents executed a search warrant at the Salinases' home in Beeville.
The agents located and seized numerous cash receipts, documents related to the purchases, numerous unused paper currency straps, a heat sealing machine and used empty heat sealed packages containing the outline/impression of unknown currency.
The agents also seized two vehicles, a Lincoln Navigator and a Lexus.
Agents also identified 12 cashier's checks, used to purchase the Las Vegas condo, totaling more than $100,000, that were purchased with cash between January and February 2010 by the Salinases.
The Beeville property and the Las Vegas condo are subject to forfeiture.
Casmiro Salinas, who has been in custody since Jan. 19, faces a maximum life sentence and a maximum $10 million fine. He will remain in jail pending sentencing.
Patsy Salinas, who was released on bond after her arrest, faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine not to exceed $500,000.
Federal Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos, who accepted the guilty pleas, has set sentencing for July 26.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lance Watt.