Woman in drug family admits money laundering

Her kin arrested after long-term pot investigation
2013-05-31T00:00:00Z 2013-06-06T16:10:21Z Woman in drug family admits money launderingVeronica M. Cruz Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
May 31, 2013 12:00 am  • 

A Tucson woman tied to a family drug-trafficking ring faces probation or up to 3.75 years in prison after pleading guilty Wednesday in Pima County Superior Court to one count of attempted money laundering in the second degree.

Pauline Guerena, 32, was arrested in March 2012 along with her father, Jose Celaya, and sister, Denise Ruiz, when they were leaving their home near South Camino Verde and West Oklahoma Street. More than $30,000 was found in the two vehicles they were in.

The family was the focus of a long-term drug trafficking investigation by the Pima County Sheriff's Department.

The indictment alleges the family was involved in importing, stashing and selling bulk quantities of marijuana from Mexico.

The suspected leader of the ring, Alejandro Guerena, pleaded guilty to one count each of attempt to commit possession of marijuana for sale over 4 pounds and conspiracy to commit money laundering in the second degree in May.

Alejandro Guerena's brother, Jose Guerena, was shot and killed by members of the Pima County Regional SWAT Team in May 2011 during a raid on his home as part of the investigation.

Alejandro Guerena, who is married to Pauline Guerena, faces probation or between two and 8.75 years in prison when he is sentenced on June 19.

Pauline Guerena is scheduled to be sentenced on July 1.

Ruiz and Celaya also face charges of money laundering, marijuana possession for sale and illegal control of an enterprise.

Contact reporter Veronica Cruz at vcruz@azstarnet.com or at 573-4224.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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