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4 Get Prison In Houston Black Market Peso Scam

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Picture of Mexican five peso coins (Photo credit: YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Picture of Mexican five peso coins (Photo credit: YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

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HOUSTON (AP) — The alleged ringleader of a $20 million black market peso exchange scheme using drug money in Texas has been sentenced to nearly 16 years in prison.

Prosecutors say 43-year-old Enrique Morales of Houston and Guadalajara, Mexico, led the money laundering scam going back to 2009.

Morales pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business. A federal judge in Houston on Wednesday ordered Morales to serve 188 months behind bars.

Investigators say drug money laundered through Texas sham business bank accounts was then sent to accounts in the U.S. and Mexico. In exchange, pesos were transferred back to accounts owned by the organization’s clients.

Three money couriers who also pleaded guilty were sentenced Wednesday to prison terms of up to 10 years.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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