DENVER (CBS4) – A Colombian man has pleaded guilty in a money laundering case involving Colorado’s legalized marijuana industry.
Hector Diaz, 50, has agreed to testify against others in a federal investigation.
With an interpreter at his side in federal court on Monday, Diaz answered “Si senor” when Judge Robert Blackburn asked him if he wanted to plead guilty to the charges he faces. Those charges are visa fraud to facilitate drug trafficking and conspiracy to distribute less than 50 pounds of marijuana.
Diaz, from Barranquilla, Colombia, first came to public attention with a photo of him holding weapons and wearing a DEA hat.
On Monday he was smiling as he left court after entering the guilty pleas. He faces a maximum of 25 years in prison and will forfeit some $450,000 that was seized by federal agents as part of their investigation.
In addition, he is expected to testify against Denver attorney David Furtado as well as Gerardo Uribe and his brother Luis. All have pleaded not guilty.
Each person was charged with money laundering after a series of raids that occured in November 2013. Marijuana, cash and records were seized from dispensaries and grow houses.
The U.S. Attorney has maintained those charged were illegally laundering money, some of which was going to and from Colombia.
At the time of the raids law enforcement sources indicated they were investigating possible involvement of Colombian drug cartels.
Diaz is scheduled to be sentenced in May. How many years he actually is sentenced to depends on his cooperation with the federal government.
He remains free on bond.