Wells Fargo branch manager charged with money laundering

A Harlingen man was indicted by a federal grand jury in late July for allegedly using his position at a Wells Fargo branch to coordinate withdrawals from shipments of narcotics proceeds.

Stephen Roland Reyna was granted a $50,000 bond following a detention hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ignacio Torteya, III on Friday. A warrant confirmed that Reyna was arrested on July 28.

According to court records, his bond hearing was delayed because the Willacy County Regional Detention Facility is adhering guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that recommends a 14-day quarantine for all new inmates.

Reyna faces one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments. The charge carries a penalty of up to 20 years in federal custody and a fine of $500,000 or twice the value of funds collected through the scheme that are subject to criminal forfeiture.

According to the partially unsealed indictment, Reyna allegedly participated in the narcotics distribution operation from August 2016 to April 2018 alongside an unspecified number of co-conspirators.

Prosecutors allege in the document that Reyna and co-conspirators would “ship narcotics, including multiple kilograms of cocaine, from the Southern District of Texas to other states.”

“Once the narcotics were delivered successfully to co-conspirators in those states, proceeds of the narcotics deliveries would be deposited into bank accounts in those states, including Wells Fargo Bank accounts.”

One of the participants would send the deposits to various bank accounts belonging to co-conspirators, which would then be withdrawn locally, according to the indictment.

Reyna, who according to the indictment was a manager at a Wells Fargo branch in Harlingen, would then assist co-conspirators with withdraws of the narcotics proceeds, the document stated.

The manager allegedly would “instruct his employees to bypass bank protocols and he would also bypass bank protocols himself via overrides.”

According to prosecutors, Reyna would set the date and time withdrawals would occur, then would allegedly authorize withdrawals that involved the narcotics proceeds for co-conspirators.

The indictment names a co-conspirator (whose name is redacted) as the individual who would then pay Reyna a portion of their cash withdrawals for his role in the withdrawals.

esheridan@brownsvilleherald.com