A crackdown on drug trafficking organizations by multiple government agencies is underway in San Francisco. (File photo courtesy of SFPD Tenderloin)
SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – A Union City woman is accused of secretly working with a San Francisco drug dealer and using her position as a financial teller to send money to Mexican bank accounts.
Investigators became suspicious of Yesenia Margarita Barrientos-Lynes, 42, after Drug Enforcement Administration agents arrested a drug dealer in the Tenderloin on June 1. Investigators said they discovered text messages between the dealer and the teller discussing a plot to launder drug proceeds into foreign banks. account.
Barrientos worked in financial services in the Tenderloin, an area plagued by open-air drug markets and deadly drug overdoses.
This week, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California indicted Barrientos on charges of conspiring to launder drug proceeds by sending large sums of money overseas.
Mr. Barrientos’ alleged co-conspirator is well known to DEA agents as a Bay Area drug trafficker.
On May 1, Barrientos sent a text message to the drug dealer, warning him that his boss had left work and that he could deposit the cash in his absence.
The drug dealer then sent Barrientos a text message that included a photo of the three people’s handwritten names and bank account numbers. The teller then sent him a photo showing receipts for thousands of dollars wired to each of the three names and account numbers, according to the criminal complaint. Two of his bank accounts were in Sinaloa, Mexico.
Some customers who visited the store specifically asked Barrientos to handle their money, according to a federal criminal complaint. Investigators said Barrientos was also seen parking just outside the store and meeting with mysterious men who gave her a bag of cash.
On April 25, surveillance cameras at the financial services company recorded Barrientos walking outside to collect a white plastic bag from a person who was waiting in a parked car. The camera then shows her going back inside the store, removing a large amount of cash from a white bag at the teller, running the cash through a money counting machine, processing a wire transfer with no customers at the teller, and using her cell phone. and take a photo of the money and receipt.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Barrientos charged under-the-table fees to process secret wire transfers. She was fired from her job in mid-May.
Barrientos was arrested on October 26 and released on bail the next day. She is scheduled to make a second court appearance Thursday. If she is convicted, she faces up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.
This case is part of an investigation by the Organized Crime and Narcotics Enforcement Unit. OCDETF’s mission is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle California’s highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations.