Martha Aguirre, 47, of Westminster, California, was convicted of narcotics conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy, and sentenced to serve 150 months in prison by US District Judge Lawrence Vilardo for smuggling drugs through a fake seafood company.

Assistant US Attorney Wei Xiang, who handled the trial, stated that the defendant was a member of a transnational drug trafficking organization that utilized contacts and a source of supply whose territory included Mexico, Arizona, California, and elsewhere. The source of supply was the Sinaloa Cartel, led by Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán and Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada.

Aguirre was convicted, along with co-defendant Juan Alfaro, following a jury trial in March 2019. Martha Aguirre’s brother Herman E. Aguirre was the leader of the organization.

Aguirre and Alfaro used “front” companies to launder over $12 million (€10.9 million) in drug proceeds from Buffalo to Los Angeles, including Triton Foods, Inc. and Kamora Investment Enterprises, Inc., which were located in California. Another fictitious company, Corral Seafoods, LLC, was allegedly located in Cheektowaga, New York, but proved to be completely fake.

Using these companies, Aguirre and Juan Alfaro disguised kilogram quantities of heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine on invoices and other documents as “sea cucumbers.” The local organization trafficked thousands of kilograms of illegal narcotics throughout the United States, including Lockport, Niagara Falls, and Buffalo.