California woman pleads guilty in Boston to money laundering in drug case

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BOSTON — Christina Lua, 50, of Santa Rosa, California, entered a guilty plea yesterday in a Boston federal court for her involvement in a money laundering conspiracy linked to methamphetamine and marijuana distribution. Lua assisted her husband in laundering drug proceeds, according to the court proceedings.

Over 160 pounds of pure methamphetamine were seized during the investigation, along with a wide array of firearms including an AK-47, an unserialized Glock, two loaded Smith & Wesson handguns, and over 4,200 rounds of ammunition. Authorities also dismantled an illegal marijuana grow operation with hundreds of plants.

Lua’s co-defendants, Reshat Alkayisi and Andre Watson, have recently pleaded guilty and are scheduled for sentencing on July 11 and July 16, 2024, respectively.

Lua, charged with one count of money laundering conspiracy as part of a second superseding indictment, will be sentenced on July 12, 2024, by U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton.

Initially indicted in September 2021 along with four others, Lua was part of a broader indictment that involved a total of 11 defendants, with charges spanning from money laundering conspiracy to controlled substance and firearm offenses.

The investigation, which began around October 2020, uncovered a large-scale methamphetamine supply network in the Boston area. Alkayisi was identified as a major trafficker in this network, distributing significant quantities across New England.

Lua’s role involved laundering her husband’s drug proceeds, including vehicle purchases with cash and depositing funds in increments below $10,000 to evade reporting requirements.

Lua is the ninth defendant to plead guilty in this case. The two remaining defendants are also expected to plead guilty.

The charge of money laundering conspiracy carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of either $500,000 or twice the laundered amount, plus a $100 special assessment. Sentencing will be determined based on U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and relevant statutes.

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