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Three Mexican nationals living in Kansas charged with money laundering and narcotic distribution worth $4.7 million

Michoacán, Mexico — Three money lending business owners in Kansas have been charged for conspiracy to distribute narcotics and sending the money proceeds to Mexico.

In a press release, the DEA reported that business owners Ana Lilia Leal-Martinez, 46, Ana Paola Banda, 50 and Maria de Lourdes Carbajal, 53, have been charged. All three are Mexican nationals living in the state of Kansas.

The DEA says the three women are among five defendants charged for their roles in a $4.7 million USD conspiracy to distribute more than 335 kilograms of methamphetamine and 22 kilograms of heroin, and to utilize wire transfers to send the drug-trafficking proceeds to Mexico.

On September 20, all five were charged with participating in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and heroin from February 28, 2020, to June 1, 2022, however, the additional money laundering charges were laid only against the three women.

The DEA reported that the women are charged with participating in a money laundering conspiracy related to transporting or transferring the proceeds of the drug trafficking conspiracy to Michoacán, Mexico. The women owned money wiring businesses in Olathe, Kansas City and Overland Park, Kansas.

All three are currently in federal custody pending a detention hearing. The government’s detention motion notes that drug trafficking organizations that generate multi-million dollar revenues are unable to effectively operate without individuals who enable foreign drug suppliers to receive proceeds from controlled substances sold in the United States.

Money sent back to Michoacán, Mexico, further fuels the drug trade and attendant violence in communities in the United States and Mexico. Banda, Carbajal, and Leal-Martinez are citizens of Mexico unlawfully present in the United States, says the detention motion, and thus a flight risk.