2 to plead guilty in crackdown on Mexican cartels' money laundering in LA fashion district

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Two men have agreed to plead guilty to crimes stemming from an investigation into suspected money laundering for Mexican drug cartels in the Los Angeles fashion district.

Xilin (ZEE’-lin) Chen and his son, Tom Chen, signed plea agreements in federal court in Los Angeles this week. A judge is expected to accept the agreements at a hearing Friday.

The men’s attorneys didn’t respond to requests for comment Thursday.

The Chens were among nine people arrested as authorities raided the fashion district in September.

Though the arrests were announced together, the Chens aren’t believed to be directly connected to the most serious case involving the Sinaloa Cartel. Prosecutors say the cartel had $140,000 in ransom payments funneled through the fashion district for a hostage who was beaten and tortured in Mexico.