A federal judge in Washington DC on Friday imposed a sentence of 30 months (two and a half years) in prison and a fine of $ 20,000 on Jessica Johanna Oseguera González, daughter of the head of the Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel (CJNG), for owning and managing six companies signed for money laundering of said criminal organization.
Judge Beryl Howell gave him another two-year sentence behind bars on other charges, which he will serve simultaneously, so technically does not add time to the punishment. That decision is made out of compassion, plea bargaining, or the fact that the crimes are interrelated.
“Your Honor, I regret my actions and ask for your mercy.” Oseguera González expressed before receiving his sentence. “I am very disappointed with myself for the decisions I made,” added the daughter of the CJNG leader, Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, alias ‘El Mencho’.
She assured in court that she has spent the worst period of her life incarcerated in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day and without receiving visits from her children due to the pandemic. “Being isolated for more than a year has allowed me to think about my decisions and the impact my decisions have had on my family and my children,” she said in court.
“I beg your mercy, your honor, I ask for a second chance to see my children grow day by day, see them become responsible men and women … I have learned my lesson and I will never do it again,” he added.
Judge Howell pointed out that she imposed her sentence considering that the defendant had no criminal record, that she showed remorse for her actions, that she has been in prison under a strict regime due to the pandemic and after reading 45 letters from relatives and friends what they ask for the least severe punishment possible. On the other hand, he stressed that he also took into account that he helped his relatives who are leaders of the dreaded Jalisco Cartel.
Defense attorneys asked the judge that Oseguera González’s sentence be served in a California prison, where several of his relatives live. The magistrate said she would make the recommendation, but emphasized that the final decision would be made by the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP).
Alias ’La Negra’ faced a sentence of up to 30 years in jail and a fine of five million dollars, but prosecutors asked the judge for a less severe punishment for her, 51 months in prison (which the magistrate considered excessive), after she pleaded guilty on March 12.
The sentencing hearing on Friday was delayed for a few minutes due to the defendant’s transfer to court and due to technical problems in conducting the teleconference. “Hello, good morning, can you hear me?” The defendant cordially greeted her translator in Spanish upon arriving at court at 9:41 am (local time).
Judge Howell asked her at one point if she was satisfied with her legal advocate and if she had adequately evaluated the government’s pre-sentencing report and other documents submitted to the court. “Yes, your honor”, she replied.
“She is a wonderful mother”, defense attorney Steven McCool expressed at the hearing. But prosecutor Brett Reynolds insisted that “she is not being charged for not being a loving mother … but for violating the Kingpin Act,” which is aimed at hitting the kingpin’s income.
Reynolds highlighted the level of violence that the Jalisco Cartel generates in Mexico thanks to a money laundering structure that allows it to buy military-type weapons and corrupt officials. “There is a level of violence, destruction and assassinations that these cartels are using in Mexico. It is real and all this comes from the movement of their income,” said the prosecutor.
The defense lawyers asked the magistrate to issue a sentence of time served, considering the 16 months of imprisonment that her client has served, added to the fact that she spent them under a regime “extremely difficult” Due to the pandemic, it kept her in her cell 23 hours a day, without family visits, and limited educational programs that she may have received.
In response to that argument, Prosecutor Reynolds noted that the coronavirus “imposed difficulties on everyone.”
Oseguera González, who was born in California 34 years ago, was arrested on February 26, 2020 in the same court where she was convicted: that day she entered the court to be at the hearing of her younger brother Rubén Oseguera González, nicknamed ‘El Menchito’, who was extradited for a drug trafficking case.
His father Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes He has been listed by the DEA as one of the richest drug traffickers in the world. His poster has a presence in every territory in the world, except Antarctica. For his capture he offers a reward of 10 million dollars. In Mexico, his criminal group has not stopped expanding and now operates in more than 20 states. It is also believed that his hit men perpetrated the murders of public officials, police officers and political candidates in that country.
The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) affirms that the daughter of ‘El Mencho’ was the owner of the businesses J&P Advertising SA de CV and JJGON SPR de RL de CV At the time she was director or agent of four more companies: Las Flores Cabañas, Mizu Sushi Lounge, Tequila Onze Black and Operadora Los Famosos SA de CV, which is under the name of Kenzo Sushi.
The six establishments were booked by OFAC on September 17, 2015, allegedly for money laundering for the criminal organization. Los Cuinis, the financial arm of the Jalisco Cartel operated by his maternal uncle Abigael González Valencia, alias ‘El Cuini’ and who is imprisoned in Mexico on drug import charges.
“Those businesses do not generate a substantial amount of money,” attorney McCool said at Friday’s hearing, trying to mitigate the accusation and avoid a financial penalty for his client.
In hearings it was known that federal agents visited the daughter of ‘El Mencho’ in California to warn her that they knew she was linked to companies signed by the United States. They gave her a notice warning that “any transaction with financial entities indicated by OFAC is” prohibited, but she continued to act as “executive director” and “partial owner” of the aforementioned businesses, alleges the Prosecutor’s Office.
Trying to elude the authorities, he traveled to Mexico to change the name of the companies and continued to operate them.
The meetings with ‘El Mencho’
Although the plea agreement Oseguera González signed prevented a trial, prosecutors presented some of the evidence they gathered for this case in a sentencing memorandum. They exhibited there the high profits of one of their restaurants, Kenzo Sushi de Guadalajara, which had an approximate income of 1.5 million dollars for three years, reveals the document.
In addition, the government affirms that ‘El Mencho’ and his daughter have had contact since 1997 and they met at least once, in 2013, at Cabañas Las Flores, a hotel business in Jalisco that allegedly launders money from the CJNG.
An anonymous aid worker was present at that meeting, according to the Federal Prosecutor’s Office. “This same witness would have declared (at trial) that the defendant’s father gave him the cabins to manage,” he says.
“This witness could have testified that at the 2011 meeting he observed that the defendant’s father ordered that certain drug ledgers be provided to the defendant so that she could confront a cartel member suspected of stealing,” he adds.
Oseguera González’s lawyers sent a letter to Judge Howell stating that his client does not try to “minimize their behavior” and admits its responsibility for associating with companies linked to the CJNG. They denied that she had recently met with her father.
They also sent him to the magistrate school diplomas and 45 letters from relatives who live in California, including one written by his mother Rosalinda González Valencia, who has been in the crosshairs of the Mexican government.
“Madam Judge, I ask you with all my heart to be fair in sentencing my daughter Jessica, since we greatly need her, her children, her nephews and all her friends … Your daughter, who is only five years old, mourns her absence a lot. and her son looks sad… Jessica has always been very aware of them and has always been a good mother ”, said the wife of ‘El Mencho’.
González Valencia described his daughter as a responsible, loving and hard-working woman. “Even though she got pregnant at the university, she finished her studies … She also likes to help those most in need,” says the letter, which never mentions her dangerous husband.
In the sentencing memorandum, prosecutors asked Judge Howell not to overlook the lavish lifestyle this woman led thanks to her father’s illicit businesses. He traveled regularly from Guadalajara to the US. From 2005 to 2020 entered this country 33 times. Three years ago he went skiing to a mountain in Colorado and customs reported that he had about $ 10,000 in cash.
The morning she was arrested, prosecutors claimed, she “was wearing a Rolex watch, a Louis Vuitton coat and a Hermes handbag, and had a substantial amount of cash.”
The criminal process of ‘El Menchito’ is still pending, a young man who was the second in command of the Jalisco Cartel and faces two charges of distributing narcotics to the United States and using firearms.