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Breaking News: HMG-CN Obtains Complaint, El Rodeo Owner Laundered Money for Mexican Cartel

Staff Report

HMG-CN has obtained the DEA complaint against Edgar Fragoso, owner of El Rodeo Nightclub in Pico Rivera, for laundering money and dealing drugs, specifically methamphetamine from Mexico into and throughout the United States.

The investigation lasted over three years.

The drug trafficking organization in which Edgar Fragoso participated by laundering drug proceeds, involved a drug dealer who resides in Mexico and his wife who lives in Southern California.

The complaint also includes Fragoso’s mother who facilitated his money laundering activities and executed financial documents.

The investigation stemmed from another scheme in 2012. The agents were working with the Mexican drug dealer who told them he could launder money through El Rodeo.

In 2013, DEA in Riverside, along with Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, initiated a money laundering investigation into a money laundering organization being run by Fragoso after receiving information from undercover operatives (UO’s) via DEA and IRS in the Dallas Fort Worth area.

According to the UO’s, Fragoso laundered drug proceeds for the Mexican drug trafficking organization through, among other methods, his bar, El Rodeo, in Pico Rivera.

Thereafter, the UO’s made multiple payments to Fragoso at El Rodeo: three payments were for purchases of methamphetamine from the Mexican drug dealer and two payments were for a fictitious drug trafficking organization introduced to Fragoso by the UO’s, for which Fragoso laundered the drug proceeds and returned multiple checks, including from an account registered to his mother, Eva Meneses.

At first the laundering amounts were small, $6,000. Then in May 2013, a $19,000 request was processed.

Then the drugs started flowing.

In late 2013 and early 2014, the UO’s arranged for another methamphetamine purchase, on credit, from Gonzalez; partial payment was later made to Fragoso at El Rodeo.

Specifically, in November 2013, Gonzalez contacted the UO’s and relayed that they had five kilograms of methamphetamine in Fort Worth. The price was $10,500.

Fragoso then started laundering money for another fictitious drug dealer, introduced by the UO’s.

Fragoso offered to launder the money through the purchase of properties and through construction opportunities.

He also said he could launder the money through “promotions” at his nightclubs.

Fragoso explained that the UO’s could bring the cash to the club then the club would set up a night where the cash would be used to pay for the music, alcohol, and staff. The club would then write the UO’s a check for “promotions” for an amount equaling the total amount of cash brought in, minus the percentage charged for laundering.

Fragoso explained that if the money was laundered this way, everyone would be clean; he would be clean and the money would come back clean.

Fragoso then said he would be able to launder quantities of around $50,000 and return the money within a few days; larger amounts would take longer to return.

In April 2014, Fragoso agreed to launder $150,000 through a construction scheme. The checks, numbered 560 and 561, were both written from a Bank of America account for “Vidal Vargus Construction.” Check 560, dated June 13, 2014, was for $30,000, made out to “Kim,” with the “for” line stating, “payment for loan.” Check 561, dated June 23, 2014, was also for $30,000, with no payor listed, and the “for” line stating, “payment loan.”

The investigation and subsequent money laundering and drug deals led to Fragoso’s arrest three days ago.

Fragoso was arraigned and posted bail.

HMG-CN contacted DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Stephen G. Azzam who said, “DEA Los Angeles, in conjunction with our law enforcement partners, continues to attack major money laundering organizations operating in our metropolitan area by arresting Edgar Fragoso. Dismantling operations like the one operating in the El Rodeo Night Club directly affects the profit margins of major drug cartels, making it much harder for them to do business in this city.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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