BOSTON (WWLP) – A Colombian man was sentenced Monday in federal court in Boston for his involvement in drug trafficking, money laundering, and extortion conspiracy involving organized crime in the Republic of Colombia.
According to the Department of Justice, Judge Leo T. Sorokin sentenced Fabio Yepes Sanchez, 57, of Medellin, to ten years in prison and five years of supervised release. Zapata pleaded guilty in June 2023 to one count of money laundering conspiracy, one count of extortion conspiracy, one count of interstate and foreign travel in aid of racketeering, and one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine. In May 2020, Yepes Sanchez and co-conspirators Mario Zapata Velez, Miguel Colindres, and Juan Pablo Ariasgil were indicted by a federal grand jury.
Yepes Sanchez and Zapata Velez were members of La Oficina de Envigado (La Oficina), a criminal organization located in Medellín, Colombia. During the 1980s, members of La Oficina provided enforcement and collection services for the Medellin Cartel, including the deceased leader of the Medellin Cartel, Pablo Escobar. As of today, La Oficina is engaged in international narcotics trafficking, drug debt collection, money laundering, extortion, and murder for hire.
As part of their conspiracy, Yepes Sanchez and Zapata Velez used threats to extort approximately $750,000 from two cocaine traffickers based in Massachusetts. In addition, Yepes Sanchez and Zapata Velez conspired with Colindres and Pablo Ariasgil to obtain and sell five kilograms of cocaine from the Massachusetts traffickers and then repatriate the proceeds to Colombia in partial satisfaction of the outstanding drug debt.
After pleading guilty to his role in the cocaine conspiracy, Ariasgil was sentenced to four years in prison and four years of supervised release in May 2022. In April 2023, Colindres was sentenced to 51 months in prison and three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to his role in the cocaine conspiracy. After pleading guilty to international narcotrafficking and extortion conspiracies in September 2023, Zapata Velez got five years in prison and three years of supervised release.
Joshua S. Levy, Acting United States Attorney, and Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New England Field Division, made the announcement. The Office of International Affairs of the Criminal Division of the Justice Department, the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations in Boston, and the Government of Colombia provided valuable assistance. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lauren A. Graber and Jared C. Dolan of the Criminal Division prosecuted the case.
This effort is part of an operation conducted by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). Through a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach, OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States.