Houston/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on April 12, 2024
Texas ICE Officer Charged with Laundering $700K in Undercover Sting OperationSource: Google Street View

An officer of Immigration and Customs Enforcement got busted for laundering cash he thought came from drug deals. The big reveal? It was a sting operation—with the feds providing the dough. Christopher Washington Toral, 48, from Spring, Texas, is staring down the barrel of a 20-year prison stretch and a wallet-crushing $1 million fine if the gavel comes down hard on his money laundering charges, as per court papers and a Houston Chronicle report.

Caught with what he thought was dirty money, Toral was actually taking the bait from a law enforcement official, wrapping his hands around $700K over three trips in the Lone Star State between Dallas and Houston, and another jaunt from Newark to Houston. Each time, the ICE deportation officer was under the impression he was moving drug money across state lines while, in fact, the reality was a federal performance art piece meant to snare him, as the Houston Chronicle detailed.

On the hook for three counts of laundering monetary instruments, Toral's got a rap sheet that pegs him transporting $200,000 at the tail end of February and another $300,000 in a north-to-south trip in early March, "believing the funds to be proceeds from drug transactions," FOX 26 Houston reported.

Toral, who once donned the badge for Homeland Security as an ICE staffer, saw his liberty clipped this past Thursday when he got nabbed and had his first court date, according to federal court records. His detention was ordered while he awaits another hearing to nail down who’s going to man the legal barricades in his defense. While an Assistant U.S. Attorney has the prosecution's reins, the investigation into Toral's actions was a tag-team effort between the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General.