Realtor charged with helping launder drug money pleads guilty to lesser charge

Federal prosecutors who charged a Brownsville, Texas-based real estate agent with helping a drug cartel launder money by purchasing real estate have accepted a guilty plea on a lesser charge — making a false statement to an IRS agent — as part of a plea deal, the Brownsville Herald reports.

Realtor Freddy Rodriguez-Centeno, a “million dollar producer” for ERA Sunrise Realty in 2010, was indicted in July. He’s now free on $75,000 and scheduled to be sentenced in November.

Brownsville is just across the border from Matamoros, Mexico, and lies in one of five major drug smuggling corridors in Texas, according to a report released this year by the Texas Department of Safety. The report said more than 8.8 million pounds of drugs moving north and $178.6 million in cash moving south has been seized along the Texas border in the last seven years.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas said the case against Centeno stemmed from an ongoing operation targeting the Armando Arambul organization that operated as the Gulf Cartel in Matamoros and South Texas. Source: Brownsville Herald via