Woody Toys accused of smuggling laundered money to drug lords in Mexico and Colombia

Woody Toys accused of smuggling laundered money to drug lords in Mexico and Colombia (Los Angeles Times)

CITY OF INDUSTRY, Calif. (KTLA) -- Prosecutors announced charges Monday for a toy company and its seven owners, alleging the company laundered drug money to cartel bosses in Mexico and Colombia.

Woody Toys, based in City of Industry, is accused of stuffing the money inside plush toys before sending them south of the border.

The company was a player in an international scheme to convert U.S. dollars into Mexican pesos at a rate of millions of dollars per year, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials.

According to court documents, a Woody Toys customer told a confidential informant that he managed to get cheap exchange rates by buying "narco money."

Those indicted and arrested are co-owners Jia "Gary" Hui Zhou and Dan "Daisy" Xin Li, both 43; accountants Kit Yee Lam, 51 and Jazmin Contreras, 33; sales manager Anabel Rufino, 32; as well as Guadalajara, Mexico-based clients Jose Miguel Yong-Hinojosa, 26, and Luis Ernesto Flores Rivera, 53.

The money laundering charge carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, according to ICE officials.