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San Diego County Sheriff’s Employee Faces Money Laundering Charges

A civilian employee of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department is facing charges stemming from allegations that he ran a side business selling an obesity drug banned in the United States since 2010, court documents show.

Francisco Terriquez, 42, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to federal charges of money laundering, drug possession with intent to distribute and making a false statement.

According to the criminal complaint, the FBI and sheriff's officials began investigating Terriquez last September after learning of more than $1.7 million in suspicious transactions in his bank accounts between 2010 and 2013.

Terriquez makes about $40,000 from his food services job at the George Bailey Detention Facility, but made more than 700 bank deposits totaling $967,816 from July 2010 to August 2014, according to federal prosecutors.

When Terriquez was interviewed by FBI agents on Monday, he admitting to selling dietary supplements but failing to report that income on his tax returns, the complaint alleges.

Agents said Terriquez drove toward the U.S.-Mexico border after his interview and was arrested. I

In February, investigators searched a storage facility in Otay Mesa allegedly belonging to Terriquez and found hundreds of small vials labeled "Alcochofivida," which tested positive for sibutramine, according to the complaint. The drug, formerly sold under the brand name Meridia, was voluntarily pulled from the market in 2010 after the Food and Drug Administration determined that it increased the risk of heart attack and stroke in patients.

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