Lowell Man Sentenced To Four Years In Prison For Cocaine Conspiracy With Colombian Criminal Organization
BOSTON – A Lowell man was sentenced yesterday in federal court in Boston for his role in a cocaine trafficking conspiracy connected to a Colombian-based criminal enterprise.
Juan Pablo Ariasgil, 41, of Lowell, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Chief Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV to four years in prison and four years of supervised release. In April 2021, Ariasgil pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and one count of possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine.
Ariasgil conspired with members of La Oficina de Envigado (La Oficina), a criminal organization based in Medellín, Colombia to distribute five kilograms of cocaine. La Oficina originated in the 1980s when its members provided enforcement and collection services for the Medellín Cartel, including deceased Medellín Cartel leader Pablo Escobar. Today, La Oficina is allegedly involved in international narcotics trafficking, drug debt collection, money laundering, extortion and murder for hire.
It is alleged that co-defendants Fabio de Jesus Yepes Sanchez and Mario Zapata Velez were members of La Oficina who were charged with collecting a $750,000 drug debt from two cocaine traffickers in Massachusetts. It is further alleged that Yepes and Zapata conspired with Ariasgil and others to obtain five kilograms of cocaine from the Massachusetts traffickers, sell those kilograms, and then repatriate the drug proceeds to Colombia, in partial satisfaction of the outstanding drug debt.
This operation is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.
The charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine each provide for a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and up to life in prison, at least five years and up to a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of up to $10 million. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.
United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins and Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Field Division, made the announcement. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs of the Justice Department, Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations in Boston and the Government of Colombia provided critical assistance with the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jared Dolan and Lauren Graber of Rollins’ Narcotics & Money Laundering Unit prosecuted the case.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The remaining defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.