Tyler women arrested for alleged money laundering, drug possession
TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - A Tyler police detective on the vice/anti-gang unit at Tyler PD and the Texas anti-gang joint task force for Smith County investigated a woman who had allegedly been selling large quantities of narcotics in the area.
Leslie Venegas, 22, was suspected of selling large quantities of marijuana, psilocybin mushrooms, THC-infused items, LSD or “acid”, as well as guns and gun accessories. The detective reached out to Venegas through her Snapchat account, where she was observed selling large amounts of marijuana and mushrooms.
She added another app she used to sell drugs, the detective said, called Telegram, and posted pictures of a new white Mercedes. The detective could not find a license plate for that car. She was allegedly making drug transactions on that app, as well.
Venegas was followed by the detective, and was spotted in the Mercedes on South Broadway in Tyler. The car was driven by Venegas’ girlfriend, Shelby Dedmon.
The car pulled into a movie theater parking lot on Broadway, and then Venegas got out of the car, and was spotted making contact with several different people, making an exchange of some sort, believed to be money for narcotics.
Over the course of several hours that night, he observed Venegas make eight exchanges in the parking lot of this movie theater, each time driven to and from the location by Dedmon.
The detective stopped the vehicle, and Venegas and Dedmon got out of the car. He said the car smelled strongly of marijuana smoke. He conducted a probable cause search of the vehicle and located 6.2 ounces of marijuana, 7.4 ounces of illegal mushrooms, three pounds of THC-infused items, and about $5,000 cash.
When a search warrant was requested for the apartment of the women, according to the affidavit, VICE detectives located a money counter, vacuum sealers, $54,423 cash, a Glock 45 9mm handgun, a Taurus G# 9mm handgun, 1.6 ounces THC-infused cookies, 3.94 pounds THC vape cartridges, 11.6 ounces marijuana leaves, drug/narcotics sales ledgers, a storage building key and a duffle bag used for transporting marijuana.
There were also tax documents with various paperwork in the bedroom of the apartment. The adjusted reported gross income of one of the women was reported to be $77. Based on the detective’s surveillance, he believes neither of the women have a legitimate and legal source of income that would explain having over $54,000 in cash on hand. The money was allegedly being concealed from the IRS/governmental records.
Also, the Texas Workforce Commission showed that neither Venegas nor Dedmon had reported earnings from any employment history since early 2020, according to the affidavit.
Venegas and Dedmon were both booked into the Smith County jail on bonds totaling $300,000 each on charges of money laundering and drug possession.
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