Thursday, September 29, 2005
Impersonating a police officer is bad enough, but smearing the reputation of a law enforcement agency in order to carry out a money laundering scheme is unconscionable, said Attorney General Abbott. I am pleased that my investigators could assist federal authorities in rounding up this individual, while the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office continues to successfully prosecute illegal gambling cases.
Undercover officers used a confidential source Abreu knew to lure him from Mexico City to Nuevo Laredo just across the border from Laredo. The source had contacted Abreu about $57,000 she had extorted in cash bribes from numerous operators of eight-liner parlors. The promised amount of money in fact did not exist and was merely a ruse. Abreu allegedly planned to smuggle the money back to the city of Mazatlan in western Mexico, where he had fled after being sentenced to 33 months in prison on the federal charges. The Attorney General’s investigators posed as the female source in online chats to lure Abreu, and cooperated with U.S. Marshals to arrest him after he crossed the border into Laredo on Sept. 21.
The extortion enterprise involved impersonating law enforcement officers and collecting large sums of money from several game parlor operators in exchange for safe harbor from police. The money was deposited into the account of Abreu’s business, U.S. Marshal’s Fund, from which he extracted $185,000 over three months using debit cards at Mazatlan banks. When Attorney General’s investigators notified the banks and credit unions that the business appeared to be illegally laundering money, the institutions closed the accounts, which were virtually empty by that time.
Abreu has several Bexar County warrants outstanding against him for engaging in organized criminal activity, gambling promotion and possession of paraphernalia, and retaliation. He will face prosecution on those charges by the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office upon completion of his federal sentence.