He eventually gave up another smuggler, Damian Tedone, who was indicted in the early 1990s along with Esquino and 11 others in a conspiracy involving drug smuggling in Florida in the 1980s at a time when the state was the epicenter of the nation’s cocaine trade.
He denied his former client has ever had anything to do with illegal narcotics.
“The only thing he has ever done is with airplanes,” Milchen said.
Court filings also indicate Esquino was sentenced to two years in federal prison after pleading guilty in 2004 to committing fraud involving aircraft he purchased in Mexico, then falsified the planes’ log books and re-sold them in the United States.
Also in 2004, a federal judge ordered him and one of his companies to pay a creditor $6.2 million after being accused of failing to pay debts to a bank.
As the years passed, Esquino’s troubles only grew.
In February this year, a Gulfstream G-1159A plane the government valued at $500,000 was seized by the U.S. Marshals Service on behalf of the DEA after landing in Tucson on a flight that originated in Mexico
Four months later, the DEA subpoenaed all of Starwood’s records dating to Dec. 13, 2007, including federal and state income tax documents, bank deposit information, records on all company assets and sales, and the entity’s relationship with Esquino and more than a dozen companies and individuals, including former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank-Rhon, a gambling mogul and a member of one of Mexico’s most powerful families. U.S. law enforcement officials have long suspected Hank-Rhon is tied to organized crime but no allegations have been proven. He has consistently denied any criminal involvement.
He was arrested in Mexico last year on weapons charges and on suspicion of ordering the murder of his son’s former girlfriend. He was later freed for lack of evidence.
The subpoena was obtained by the U-T San Diego newspaper.
A Starwood attorney listed on the subpoena, Jeremy Schuster, declined Thursday to provide details.View Entire Story
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