Tijuana councilman’s bail is set at $300,000 in money-laundering case

Luis Torres Santillan, a Tijuana City Council member, is being held in San Diego on money-laundering charges.

Bail was set at $300,000 Tuesday for a Tijuana City Council member who is facing money-laundering charges in San Diego.

Superior Court Judge David J. Danielsen rejected the prosecution’s $5-million bail request for Luis Torres Santillan, which described him as a flight risk.

The councilman’s attorney argued that Torres had never been arrested before, held U.S. and Mexican citizenship and was married to a teacher working in Chula Vista.

According to Anthony Colombo, his client is the general manager of Productos Diamond, a family-operated Tijuana business that imports rice, beans and lentils from different parts of the world and sells them in Mexico.


The councilman had been in office for 16 days when he was arrested at the border Dec. 16. Charged with 10 counts of money laundering, he has pleaded not guilty and currently is on leave from the council.

The case is one of three resulting from an investigation led by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s narcotics task force, in collaboration with other agencies. Torres is one of 12 defendants named in a complaint filed by the state of California.

According to court documents, proceeds from illegal activity were being smuggled from Mexico into the United States, deposited into banks and then wired back to Mexico.

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for Feb. 9.