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Metropolitan Digest / LOS ANGELES COUNTY NEWS IN BRIEF

LOS ANGELES : Ex-Bank Manager Gets 24 Years in Drug Money Case

July 21, 1993

A former Bank of America branch manager was sentenced to 24 years in prison Tuesday for her role in an Inland Empire drug and money laundering operation, the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles announced.

According to Assistant U.S. Atty. Nick Hanna, one of the lead prosecutors in the case, Deborah Lynn Mendes, 35, worked for a major drug trafficking ring that distributed cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine. Prosecutors said members of that operation smuggled large shipments of cocaine in the roofs of tour buses traveling from Mexico and unloaded the shipments in Fontana, where they would be repackaged and sold.

Mendes was found guilty of conspiring to aid and abet the distribution of cocaine and on money laundering counts, among other things. She was one of six people to be convicted or to plead guilty in the case. A seventh alleged conspirator, Joseph Edwardo Arvizu, is still at large.

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