DEA Searches Prominent Businesses for Possible Connection to Drugs and Money Laundering

Agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration in conjunction with the Internal Revenue Service executed a search warrant on the Pagosa Springs resort in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The resort, which is owned by two sisters, was part of an investigation the DEA conducted into suspected drug trafficking and money laundering allegedly carried out by their father and uncle.

Agents also searched the Big Byte Data Center, which is also owned by Nerissa and Keeley Whittington, and which was also suspected of being tied to illegal drug and financial activity allegedly being carried out by Bill and Don Whittington, the father and uncle.

Despite the execution of the search warrant on the two properties, they were both returned to the owners without DEA or IRS agents issuing any citations or making any arrests. Interestingly, while the two locations were being searched for the same reasons and have the same owners, DEA agents did not confirm whether the searches were related to another investigation by the DEA of the Whittington brothers that stemmed from their association with racecar driving.

That investigation began during the fall of 2013. According to an attorney representing the Whittington sisters, there was never any specific reason given by agents as to why the searches were being carried out.

According to one agent who spoke anonymously to reporters, the search warrant was originally issued through the IRS. The agent said that DEA agents in Miami were alleging last fall that the Whittington brothers were selling and/or leasing aircraft to drug lords in South America. It was believed by agents that the money that was being made by the brothers from those sale and lease agreements was being laundered through the resort and the data center.

The Whittingtons have prior criminal convictions including tax evasion and conspiracy to smuggle marijuana into the United States.