A court in the US state of Texas has handed down a 121 month jail term to a former El Paso shoe business owner.

Jose Luis Rodriquez owned El Paso-based ERENE Inc, a business that was central to a US$100 million trade-based money laundering scheme.

Wholesale smuggling

The scheme involved shoes being smuggled into Mexico from Rodriquez’s several shoe stores in El Paso.

While Rodriquez told suppliers such as Nike and Puma he was retailing shoes to the general public, in reality most of the footwear was sold on a wholesale basis to Mexican and US based purchasers.

The goods were then removed from their boxes so as many shoes as possible could be packed into and hidden in vans that then smuggled the footwear into Mexico.

Additional fine

By doing this, the court in Texas found that ERENE avoided tariffs, duties and fees imposed by the Mexican government.

As well as serving a prison sentence of more than 10 years, Rodriquez must also pay a US$10,000 fine.