A man who flaunted private jets and luxury cars on Instagram gets 11 years in prison for money laundering for allegedly taking part in a $34 million cocaine trade that ended in Mexico in 2015.
The man, 57-year-old Carlos Hernandez-Torres, the ringleader of the criminal ring, pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering, the state Department of Justice said in court Friday.
He was sentenced to 11 years in prison, to be followed by four years of supervised release.
Hernandez-Torres was also ordered to pay $34.7 million in restitution and forfeit $40 million.
He was arrested in April 2016 and charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute nearly 50 kilograms (110 pounds) of cocaine.
During his sentencing, Hernandez-Torres told the judge that he didn’t do the drugs, but instead was working with a Mexican drug cartel.
“You’re not going to be a person that I have in my heart that did the drug,” Hernandez-Torres said, according to the news agency Fonovisa. “I am not a criminal. I am not a drug kingpin.”
He added: “If you continue to believe that I want to go to jail, to give you what you want, you’re wrong. I want to go to prison. I will go to prison until the day I die.”
Investigators with Mexico’s National Drug and Organized Crime Program say the alleged crime took place in the city of Nuevo Laredo.
Officials say drug cartel members would ferry the drugs to Mexico City in the dark of night in their private aircraft at a cost of about $150,000 per load.
The drug cartels pay by the kilogram, and the drugs are transported over the border in a fleet of private aircraft by a dozen people.
Officials say the cocaine was then delivered to a distribution hub in Nuevo Laredo, where it would be transported into Mexico where it would be taken and distributed in the U.S. and beyond.