The 21-year-old man accused of having $200,000 in alleged drug trafficking money pleaded guilty on Friday in federal court.
Josue Amaya-Salazar pleaded by bill of information in Dayton’s U.S. District Court to one count of attempted international money laundering. As part of the plea — which had been delayed one day — one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin was dismissed.
Amaya-Salazar is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 30 by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Rose. If Rose accepts the plea, the parties agreed to a term of three years in prison.
In court, Amaya-Salazar admitted that on March 16, 2017, he attempted to transport about $200,000 in drug money — prosecutors initially said the total was closer to $300,000 — from the United States to Mexico. The money was to go to another person and then be transferred to drug traffickers in Mexico.
Rose told Amaya-Salazar that the maximum sentence would be 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 or twice the amount of money. He also could be deported and restricted from re-entering the United States.
Amaya-Salazar’s federal public defender estimated his client’s non-binding, guideline sentencing estimate to be 37 to 46 months in prison.
Law enforcement conducted surveillance March 16 in the area of 1502 Xenia Ave. in Dayton, according to a complaint and affidavit filed in Dayton’s U.S. District Court.
The complaint, written by Springfield police officer and Drug Enforcement Administration task force officer Jason Via, said police had earlier stopped a different car that had thousands of dollars in bulk cash.
The complaint said law enforcement observed Amaya-Salazar carry a weighted bag, which he placed in his vehicle. Later, he was stopped for a traffic violation and a drug K-9 alerted to the odor of narcotics.
In searching the car, officers found the cash and a small amount of heroin.
“Mr. Amaya-Salazar admitted that he knew that the money in the car represented the proceeds of drug sales,” Via wrote. “He indicated that he intended to deliver the money to an unknown Hispanic male.”
FIVE MUST-READ COURT/CRIME STORIES