Local News in Brief : 17 Plead Innocent to Money Laundering

Seventeen people pleaded innocent Monday to charges that they used shops in the downtown Los Angeles jewelry district as fronts to launder at least $250 million in drug profits for Colombian cocaine traffickers.

The 17 individuals pleaded innocent to conspiracy, money-laundering and narcotics charges before a federal magistrate. They face trial May 9 before U.S. District Judge William Keller.

Another 15 defendants who purportedly ran a nearly identical, parallel scheme to launder another $240 million were expected to enter their pleas later before U.S. District Judge Consuelo Marshall.