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A lawyer, who pleaded guilty in relation to a case of conspiracy to launder money for a US DEA undercover agent he believed was a drug trafficker, has been sentenced to five years in federal prison.

Rayshun Jackson, a defense attorney, has been sentenced to five years in federal prison due to his involvement in laundering money he believed was linked to narcotics trafficking.

This case is interesting as the lawyer’s sentence is the final result of an undercover operation. In September 2021, the professional – already arrested in April 2021 – pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder money for an individual he believed was a drug trafficker but that, in reality, was an undercover agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

The DEA undercover agent was presented to the defense attorney by a drug trafficker, and they discussed how to clean the proceeds of crime. The fact that the drug trafficker had vouched for the credibility of the DEA undercover agent induced the professional to provide advice and assistance.

In those circumstances, the lawyer advised the DEA undercover agent that he could:

  • clean approximately $500,000 a month through non-traceable cash businesses and shell corporations;

  • use his firm’s bank accounts – including charitable bank accounts used for providing legal assistance to indigent persons – to transfer the money.

Later, the lawyer:

  • received from the DEA undercover agent, respectively, $100,000 and $300,000, which he believed were linked to drug trafficking;

  • agreed to receive in return 5% of the fee on any specific operation ($5,000 and $15,000);

  • deposited $95,000 and $285,000 in his bank accounts and, in the end, transferred the money to the undercover agent’s bank account.

The undercover operation has allowed the sentencing of the lawyer and, as a result of the federal conviction, the Texas Supreme Court also canceled Jackson’s law license.

This case offers the opportunity to reflect on at least three significant issues.

First, as argued by DEA Dallas Special Agent in Charge Eduardo A. Chávez, “Money launderers … complete the circle of drug trafficking by returning ill-gained profits to criminal organizations”. The role played by professionals – particularly lawyers – in enabling money laundering represents a critical issue in the private control of crime.

Second, detecting money laundering cases appears particularly difficult due to the lack of advanced investigation techniques. This case also calls everyone to reflect on the differences between using undercover agents and agent provocateurs to discover crime and sentence professionals involved in economic crime.

Third, crime control requires the development of diversified strategies. As demonstrated in this and other cases, members of organized crime groups, drug traffickers, and other offenders are becoming increasingly important in detecting crimes committed in cooperation with certain private sector actors, including professionals and financial institutions.

Links to the DOJ Press Releases:

Please find also below the DOJ Press Releases in PDF format.

DOJ Northern District of Texas - Jackson - Press Release 17 Aug 2022
Download PDF • 102KB
DOJ Northern District of Texas - Jackson - Press Release 29 Sept 2021
Download PDF • 101KB
DOJ Northern District of Texas - Jackson - Press Release 16 Apr 2021
Download PDF • 106KB


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