A Guatemalan drug lord was sentenced in a secret court proceeding after she was convicted of running one of the largest drug trafficking rings in Central America.
Marllory Chacon Rossell was known as a businesswoman and a fixture in the social circuit in her native Guatemala, but authorities said the 42-year-old nicknamed Queen of the South was also running a vast and ruthless drug empire.
Her drug ring stretched across Central America, centered in Honduras but also operating in Panama and sending vast amounts of drugs up to the American border. The organization supplied cocaine to two of the most notorious Mexican drug runners — Los Zatos and the Sinaloa Cartel.
While she was a prolific drug runner, the Guatemalan drug lord sentenced this week made most of her profit through money laundering. At its peak, Rossell’s organization was laundering tens of millions of U.S. dollars in drug profits each week.
While authorities did not put an exact dollar figure to her total earnings, the longevity of her operation suggests that it would at least approach $1 billion, and possibly exceed it.
As Listverse noted, Marllory Chacon Rossell had some tricks to laundering the dirty money:
“Trying to mask the large sums of money that she brought in, Chacon Rossell started Bingoton Millionario, a privately run lottery. The large scale of her operations triggered the attention of the United States Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). They marked her and her organization as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers (SDNTs). ‘Marllory Chacon’s drug trafficking activities, and her ties to the Mexican drug cartels, make her a critical figure in the narcotics trade. By designating Chacon, OFAC is disrupting those activities and closing off from the United States financial system the network of companies aiding Chacon’s illicit activities,’ said OFAC Director Adam J. Szubin.”
Rossell surrendered to authorities in the United States last year, and is reportedly feeding them key information in other cases. For that reason, a judge decided to keep her sentence and release date a secret for five years.
“There was judgment,” said defense attorney Bonnie Klapper. “I can not comment. Everything is sealed. The trial, conviction, all for five years.”
While the length of the prison term for Marllory Chacon Rossell was not released, the Guatemalan drug lord sentenced this week faced anywhere from 10 years to life in prison.
[Image via BBC]