Francisco Javier Guerra Torres is accused of federal money laundering charges, WAAY 31 News has uncovered.
The North Alabama business owner indicted by a grand jury was arrested by federal agents with Homeland Security.
The three counts filed by government prosecutors all relate to interstate and foreign commerce bank wire transfers totaling nearly $740,000.
In U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Guerra, owner of Global Special Effects in Lexington in Lauderdale County, heard the charges against him during a hearing in front of Magistrate Judge Herman N Johnson in Miami, Florida, conducted via video conference.
Guerra was arrested and released after posting bond.
Federal agents with the Department of Homeland Security completed their raid at his Lexington business on Wednesday.
Thursday, a worker inside the business on County Road 71 said she couldn’t comment on the investigation and referred reporters to the owner. WAAY 31 has reached out for comment but has not heard back.
According to court documents WAAY 31 obtained, Guerra is being represented by attorney Glenmore Powers and Jim Sturdivant, who specialize in white collar crime defense cases.
If Guerra is found guilty of the federal charges, he will be forced to forfeit to the government “any property, real or personal, involved in the offense, and any real property traceable to such property under Title 18.” Guerra could also face other penalties including jail time.
Agents conducted the search warrant at the Lexington area business where Guerra creates machines that make artificial snow for large scale productions, according to the company’s website.
Lexington Police Chief Augie Hendershot says this raid was a surprise to everyone, and even he was not given any heads up the feds were coming.
“That is unusual for us here, we are the best little town to me in the whole little world," he said Thursday. "We are a very tight-knit community so when something different happens or something unusual happens it attracts a lot of attention.”
Back reporting in a small/rural town, feels like I’m home. I grew up in a town just like this…Genuine people, they wave and are truly welcoming.
— Matt Kroschel (@Matt_Kroschel) September 23, 2021