Highlands Ranch Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering

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FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Department of Justice Building is pictured

DENVER – The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado announces Raul Rene Rodriguez-Romero, 33, of Highlands Ranch, has been sentenced to 5 years in federal prison after earlier pleading guilty to distribution of more than 500 grams of methamphetamine and money laundering.

According to the plea agreement, in 2015, Rodriguez-Romero met with a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) confidential source to discuss drug trafficking and money laundering. Rodriguez-Romero agreed to launder represented drug proceeds. In May 2015 and August to October 2015, Rodriguez met with the confidential source, accepted money he believed was from the distribution of methamphetamine, then wrote checks back to the confidential source from his various bank accounts to launder the money. Along the way, Rodriguez-Romero took a commission for himself. The plea agreement also states that in November 2015, Rodriguez-Romero distributed approximately two pounds of methamphetamine to the confidential source. In April 2016, Rodriguez fled to Mexico to avoid prosecution. He was ultimately arrested and extradited back to the United States.

Judge Daniel D. Domenico sentenced the defendant on September 14, 2022.

“Our office appreciates the efforts of our law enforcement partners at the DEA and IRS-CI. Their hard work and dedication makes it possible to disrupt drug-traffickers who seek to distribute illegal drugs in our communities. They also work to stop the laundering of illegal drug proceeds,” said U.S. Attorney Cole Finegan.

“Money laundering is a critical lifeline for drug trafficking organizations who look to profit from their deadly trade,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Brian Besser of the Rocky Mountain Field Division. “This sentence should serve as a stark reminder for those criminals, whether they distribute addictive and deadly drugs or launder the proceeds, the DEA will continue to use every available resource to disrupt their illegal operations.”   

“IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agents play a vital role in federal law enforcement’s narcotics investigations by targeting the drug traffickers’ profits laundered through businesses which may appear to be legitimate,” said Andy Tsui, IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge, Denver Field Office. “By targeting the profits related to drug trafficking, we deprive them of the lifeblood of their organization which is key to dismantling their operations.”

This investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and IRS-CI and prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado.

This prosecution is a result of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles high-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten communities throughout the United States. OCDETF uses a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

CASE NUMBER: 16-cr-00266-DDD