Desiree Perez, a Cuban-American who is CEO of Jay-Z’s Roc Nation empire and, along with her husband, Roc Nation Sports chief Juan Perez, is a longtime associate and friend of Jay-Z.
President Trump issued 140 pardons and commutations on his last day in office which included Roc Nation CEO Desiree Perez, a former government informer whose ties to Jay-Z are raising questions.
According to The New York Daily News in March 2015, after Perez was arrested in 1994 for possession of 35 kilos of cocaine, she struck a deal with the feds, agreeing to wear hidden wires to record her meetings with major cocaine traffickers. She turned government informer, she helped the Drug Enforcement Administration break up major drug deals in Puerto Rico and Colombia.
The New York Daily News also reported in May 2014 that, according to federal court transcripts it had obtained, Perez wore wires to meet with major cocaine traffickers.
Perez was the wife of longtime Jay-Z wingman Juan Perez, who is now the head of Roc Nation Sports.
In 1994, the Perez family was rounded up in a major drug investigation in South Florida. That year, 19 people including Desiree Perez were indicted in a federal drug investigation.
The Sun-Sentinel reported in 1994 that the sting was the result of a four-year undercover investigation that, prosecutors said, shut down a major South Florida drug-smuggling family living in Miramar.
According to the indictment, the family, led by Miami seafood distributor, smuggled cocaine into South Florida for 10 years to the tune of 35-to-50 tons.
According to a White House statement, Perez was granted a full pardon for her involvement in a conspiracy to distribute narcotics. The conviction was more than 25 years old, Billboard reported.
“Since her conviction, Ms. Perez has taken full accountability for her actions and has turned her life around,” the White House said in a statement. “She has been gainfully employed and has been an advocate for criminal justice reform in her community.”
In a statement provided to Billboard, Perez said, “I’m grateful to have received a pardon and to have formally closed that chapter of my life in the eyes of the law. I have taken full accountability for my mistakes from 25 years ago, but I also take tremendous pride in my personal growth, perseverance, and accomplishments since then.
“This pardon reinforces my lifelong commitment to advocate for criminal justice reform and social justice initiatives,” Perez said.