5 ARE ACCUSED OF LAUNDERING DRUG MONEY AT ATLNATIC CITY CASINOS – NYTimes.com money laundering and terrorist financing

Federal authorities last night announced the arrests of five people whom they described as international heroin traffickers responsible for the ”laundering of millions of dollars in narcotics proceeds through casinos in atlantic city.”

No gambling casinos were named, and a federal prosecutor said there was no evidence that the casinos had known that the transactions in question were money laundering, or the attempt to disguise illicit sources of money. But the prosecutor, charles E. Rose, an assistant united states attorney for the eastern district of new york, said the investigation was continuing.

The arrests, all made in recent days, occurred in the new york metropolitan region, at a ski resort in utah and in bermuda, officials said. One of those arrested was identified as anthony castelbuono, a 40-year-old lawyer who lives at waterside plaza in manhattan, who was said to have been on a skiing vacation in utah.Money laundering and terrorist financing

The office of raymond J. Dearie, the united states attorney for the eastern district, said mr. Castelbuono had ”admitted to federal agents that he laundered millions of dollars in cash” belonging to two people suspected of being heroin traffickers, one of whom was another of the five arrested.

That man, identified as victoriano molina-chacon, 51, of alicante, spain, was arrested in bermuda after united states undercover drug agents lured him there for a meeting, said mr. Dearie, who added that extradition would be sought.

Mr. Rose said that mr. Castelbuono had been released on bail in salt lake city after his arrest and was on his way back to new york last night. He is scheduled to appear monday in federal district court in brooklyn.

In a complaint filed at the court last night, the federal drug enforcement administration said that in interviews with drug agents, mr.Money laundering and terrorist financing castelbuono had ”admitted, in substance,” that since late 1981 ”he has been laundering cash” for mr. Molina-chacon and a second person suspected of being a heroin trafficker.

As an example, the complaint charged that in may 1982, mr. Castelbuono and others brought ”$400,000 in small bills” to atlantic city, where they ”converted them into $100 bills at various casinos.” mr. Castelbuono is said to have taken the money to switzerland for deposit in a bank account.

Reena raggi, another federal prosecutor, said those arrested were ”the new york end of the chain” in an unsuccessful attempt to smuggle 176 pounds of heroin from italy in 1983.

Miss raggi said the five had been charged with conspiring to import heroin. The others were identified as rudolfo risatti, 43, of east meadow, L.I.; francis or francesco ditomasso, 31, of cranbury, N.J., and melania lopez, 43, of west 34th street in manhattan.Money laundering and terrorist financing

Miss lopez was released on $100,000 bail yesterday after an arraignment in which she was not required to enter a plea. There was no manhattan telephone listing for her name and she could not be reached for comment last night. The two other defendants were ordered jailed pending a bail hearing monday. Defense lawyers argued at their arraignments that the evidence did not tie them to heroin trafficking.

Federal authorities last night announced the arrests of five people whom they described as international heroin traffickers responsible for the ”laundering of millions of dollars in narcotics proceeds through casinos in atlantic city.”

No gambling casinos were named, and a federal prosecutor said there was no evidence that the casinos had known that the transactions in question were money laundering, or the attempt to disguise illicit sources of money.Money laundering and terrorist financing but the prosecutor, charles E. Rose, an assistant united states attorney for the eastern district of new york, said the investigation was continuing.

The arrests, all made in recent days, occurred in the new york metropolitan region, at a ski resort in utah and in bermuda, officials said. One of those arrested was identified as anthony castelbuono, a 40-year-old lawyer who lives at waterside plaza in manhattan, who was said to have been on a skiing vacation in utah.

The office of raymond J. Dearie, the united states attorney for the eastern district, said mr. Castelbuono had ”admitted to federal agents that he laundered millions of dollars in cash” belonging to two people suspected of being heroin traffickers, one of whom was another of the five arrested.

That man, identified as victoriano molina-chacon, 51, of alicante, spain, was arrested in bermuda after united states undercover drug agents lured him there for a meeting, said mr.Money laundering and terrorist financing dearie, who added that extradition would be sought.

Mr. Rose said that mr. Castelbuono had been released on bail in salt lake city after his arrest and was on his way back to new york last night. He is scheduled to appear monday in federal district court in brooklyn.

In a complaint filed at the court last night, the federal drug enforcement administration said that in interviews with drug agents, mr. Castelbuono had ”admitted, in substance,” that since late 1981 ”he has been laundering cash” for mr. Molina-chacon and a second person suspected of being a heroin trafficker.

As an example, the complaint charged that in may 1982, mr. Castelbuono and others brought ”$400,000 in small bills” to atlantic city, where they ”converted them into $100 bills at various casinos.” mr. Castelbuono is said to have taken the money to switzerland for deposit in a bank account.Money laundering and terrorist financing

Reena raggi, another federal prosecutor, said those arrested were ”the new york end of the chain” in an unsuccessful attempt to smuggle 176 pounds of heroin from italy in 1983.

Miss raggi said the five had been charged with conspiring to import heroin. The others were identified as rudolfo risatti, 43, of east meadow, L.I.; francis or francesco ditomasso, 31, of cranbury, N.J., and melania lopez, 43, of west 34th street in manhattan.

Miss lopez was released on $100,000 bail yesterday after an arraignment in which she was not required to enter a plea. There was no manhattan telephone listing for her name and she could not be reached for comment last night. The two other defendants were ordered jailed pending a bail hearing monday. Defense lawyers argued at their arraignments that the evidence did not tie them to heroin trafficking.