AVONDALE, AZ - A deadly shooting in a grocery store parking lot in Avondale led police to a drug money laundering syndicate.
According to information at the scene, two cars were in the parking lot when occupants in one started shooting at the other. Both cars drove off, including the victim's vehicle which headed to a nearby fire station for help.
Police say Erick Dominguez, 23, was shot one time in the lower back with a handgun. His brother had driven him to the fire station, and he was then taken to the hospital where he died during surgery.
A female victim who was also in the car handed police a ‘pelican box’ with a GPS tracking system attached to it.
Police were able to track the purchase of the GPS unit to 27-year-old Cynthia Salome Rocha of Buckeye.
Police met with Rocha at her attorney’s office where she reportedly told them that she was dating the brother of the suspect, Manuel Morales. She said the brothers were involved in illegal narcotic sales in Arizona. One of the brothers asked her to purchase the GPS trackers and deliver them to Mexico where he was waiting.
Police say Rocha watched as he tracked drug shipments using the GPS trackers she purchased.
Police say Rocha also enlisted the help of 27-year-old Amy Portillo. She asked Portillo to open an account at Wells Fargo Bank so the brothers could transfer drug sale money to and from Mexico. Rocha explained that “$5,000 would be transferred in and she could keep $300.”
Portillo also allegedly rented a house for one of the brothers to stay in when he came to Arizona. For this service, Portillo was to be paid $2,000. Rocha reportedly told Portillo, “They don’t do anything bad at the house, it’s just for his brother to live in…he has other houses for all that stuff."
Portillo and Rocha were arrested on June 21 about an hour apart at two different locations. They both have been charged with money laundering.