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Free Angela Aguilar

The Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Los Angeles, California, an administrative facility for male and female inmates.How do you pressure an FCPA fugitive to turn himself in?

One way may be to arrest his wife, charge her with a couple of felonies, and hold her in pretrial detention until something gives.

In August, Angela Aguilar, 55, was arrested in Houston and held there. The DOJ originally charged her with FCPA violations but later re-cast the case against her as conspiracy to launder money and substantive money laundering.

At the government’s request, she was moved from Houston to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles, “an administrative facility for male and female inmates.”

Her husband, Enrique Faustino Aguilar Noriega, 56, was charged in a seven-count indictment by a grand jury in LA with conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, four substantive FCPA violations, money laundering conspiracy, and money laundering.

The indictment against them alleged bribes to officials at the Mexican state-owned electric utility, Comisión Federal de Electridad.

A case summary filed by prosecutors with the court in mid-September called the husband a fugitive. A lawyer acting for him has appeared in the case. But there’s no record of Enrique himself showing up.

The DOJ asked the court to issue a warrant for his arrest. With the warrant, prosecutors could seek assistance from Mexican or third-country authorities to capture him.

In its request for his wife’s pretrial detention, the government said she should be held because there’s a serious risk she’ll flee, and for the “safety . . .  of the community.”

She’s been in pretrial custody for three months. How much time will she spend there? Until she’s put on trial and acquitted, or she cops a plea and somehow gains her freedom, or maybe until her husband shows up in LA to answer the charges against him, and trades himself for his wife. 

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Download the government’s September 15, 2010 request for detention in U.S. v. Angela Maria Gomez Aguilar here.

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