Jury finds man guilty of money laundering, meth conspiracy
At the end of a weeklong trial, a federal jury Monday found a California man guilty of conspiracy to launder more than $140,000 in drug money and to distribute meth in Lincoln in 2011.
But the jury found Sergio Valencia Sr., of Santa Ana, not guilty of conspiracy to defraud the United States.
He is set for sentencing on the drug and money laundering charges in October.
In a federal indictment unsealed last year, the U.S. Attorney’s Office accused Valencia and Marisela Pescador of funneling more than $141,000 received in exchange for delivering methamphetamine to Lincoln through banks in Nebraska and California between April 2011 and September 2011.
They alleged drug couriers brought methamphetamine to Lincoln and deposited the proceeds in Wells Fargo bank accounts, making nearly three dozen deposits of $5,000 or less.
Then, the couriers contacted Valencia and Pescador, who withdrew the cash in California.
In an opening statement July 11, defense attorney Carlos Monzon called Valencia a scapegoat, chosen by two other men trying to get out of federal prison earlier by giving the government information.
He said he was representing an innocent man.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Fullerton called witnesses who said Valencia paid them to take drugs from California to Lincoln.
The jury got the case Friday afternoon and went home without a verdict at 6:20 p.m. Jurors returned Monday and returned to the courtroom with a verdict shortly after noon.
Pescador is set for sentencing later this month for conspiracy to money launder. She pleaded guilty.