02/20/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/20/2020 12:26
Indianapolis - United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced today, Saul Rodriguez-Soto, 39, Indianapolis, was sentenced to 108 months in federal prison, by U.S. District Judge James R. Sweeney, in the federal courthouse in Indianapolis, for charges of racketeering and money laundering.
'Bulls Auto Enterprise was a criminal organization whose leader used his business as a sanctuary to perpetrate an elaborate and interrelated scheme to launder money and affect interstate commerce,' said Minkler. 'Our message to other businesses whose model is to operate and profit from the illegal drug trade is simple. We stand ready to enforce federal laws to shut your business down and move you to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.'
Saul Rodriguez-Soto operated SR Bulls Auto Sales LLC located at 2302 E. Washington Street, Indianapolis, Indiana; Bulls Auto Sales II Inc. located at 3919 W. Washington Street, Indianapolis, Indiana; and Chicago Auto Sales LLC located at 2233 E. Washington Street, Indianapolis, Indiana. Rodriguez-Soto, SR Bulls Auto Sales LLC, Bulls Auto Sales II Inc. and Chicago Auto Sales LLC were members and associates of the Bulls Auto Enterprise, a criminal organization whose members and associates engaged in money laundering and other criminal violations.
The objectives of Rodriguez-Soto and the Bulls Auto Enterprise included funding the business through, among other things, money laundering, attempted currency reporting violations, and currency reporting violations for financial gain. Rodriguez-Soto and the Bulls Auto Enterprise engaged in financial transactions with the proceeds of illegal drug trafficking. Specifically, drug traffickers would purchase vehicles from the Bulls Auto Enterprise using drug proceeds. Rodriguez-Soto concealed the ownership of those vehicles by titling the vehicles in another individual's name and avoid the currency reporting requirements.
Rodriguez-Soto was the organizer and manager of the Bulls Auto Enterprise. Toward that end, he taught others in the enterprise to knowingly avoid the currency reporting requirements and to falsify the car sales paperwork on cars knowingly sold to drug traffickers, so as to conceal the actual purchaser of the car and to inaccurately reflect that there were liens on the cars sold to drug traffickers.
Others involved in the Bulls Auto Enterprise have already been sentenced or are a wanted fugitive.
This case was the result of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, Indiana State Police, Homeland Security Investigations and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
'The laundering of illegal drug profits is as important and essential to drug traffickers as the distribution of their illegal drugs,' said Kathy Enstrom, IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge, Chicago Field Office. 'Today's sentencing reinforces that IRS Criminal Investigation is dedicated to finding individuals who are involved in these laundering schemes and holding them responsible. We would like to thank the United States Attorney's Office and our law enforcement partners at Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, Indiana State Police, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their hard work and cooperation in this investigation.'
'To disrupt the sale of illegal drugs, that often is the impetus for violence, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and our law enforcement partners will continue to use focused law enforcement strategies to identify and hold accountable those contributing to these types of criminal enterprises,' said Chief Randal Taylor. 'Special thank you to IMPD's investigators and investigators from the Internal Revenue Service, Indiana State Police, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Federal Bureau of Investigations who worked tirelessly on the successful completion of this case.'
'I am extremely proud of the work our investigators conducted in collaboration with their colleagues from the FBI, IRS, Homeland Security Investigations and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department,' said Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter. 'The results of this case re-iterate our continued commitment to suppress this type of criminal activity and ultimately hold those who perpetrate these crimes accountable for their actions.'
'With the sentencing of the leader of this group the message is loud and clear - if your business includes enabling drug traffickers to move their product and laundering their dirty money - the FBI and our law enforcement partners will aggressively work to identify you and ensure you pay the price for your fraudulent schemes,' said Special Agent in Charge Grant Mendenhall, FBI Indianapolis.
According to Assistant United States Attorney Michelle Brady, who prosecuted this case for the government, Rodriguez-Soto will serve 108 months imprisonment and three years of supervised release following his sentence.
In October 2017, United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced a Strategic Plan designed to shape and strengthen the District's response to its most significant public safety challenges. This prosecution demonstrates the office's commitment to prosecute organizations and individuals distributing cocaine, marijuana, and other controlled substances. See United States Attorney's Office, Southern District of Indiana Strategic Plan Section 3.3.