Fabio Ochoa is Awaiting His Release From Prison Now

In the fourth episode of Netflix’s biographical series ‘Griselda,’ Griselda Blanco enters into a discussion with Fabio Ochoa, one of the leaders of the infamous and powerful Medellín Cartel, concerning forming a partnership and selling drugs in the city of Miami. To display his authority and scare Griselda, Fabio kills Arturo. In reality, Fabio was an integral part of the Medellín Cartel that created havoc in the United States and several European countries. Even though the leaders of the cartel were his elder brothers, Jorge and Juan, along with the incomparable Pablo Escobar, Fabio was heavily involved in their drug trafficking activities!

Who is Fabio Ochoa?

The father of the Ochoa brothers ran a restaurant. The family worked hard in the establishment. It is widely believed that the brothers sought fortune in drug trafficking after getting tired of seeing their loved ones tirelessly running the place for their livelihood. By the time Fabio entered the world of trafficking, his elder brother Jorge established a drug empire along with peers such as Pablo Escobar. Fabio started to be involved in the cartel’s affairs when the DEA started to hunt down the traffickers. After the authorities nearly captured Jorge, he had to vanish and let Fabio run the business for the group.

“After [a] close call, Ochoa left Miami, never to return. His younger brother, Fabio, barely out of his teens, had to be sent in to handle the family’s U.S. distribution. […] Young Fabio was learning the cocaine business in Miami, and Jorge’s older brother, Juan David, was useful if not particularly inspired,” reads Guy Gugliotta and Jeff Leen’s ‘Kings of Cocaine: Inside the Medellín Cartel – An Astonishing True Story of Murder, Money and International Corruption.’ When Jorge eventually got imprisoned in Spain, Fabio stepped up to “run the things” as well.

In 1991, the Ochoa brothers surrendered to the Colombian authorities to avoid an “open war” with the officials. They cut a plea deal with the government, which included a promise to the Ochoas that they wouldn’t be extradited to the United States based on the trafficking charges in the latter country. Fabio was released in 1996, only to get arrested again in 1999 and extradited to the US in 2001. “He [Fabio] is being charged for continuing to be engaged in drug trafficking after his release from prison. What’s significant, what’s different about Ochoa is his personality, his influence, his power in Colombia,” then-DEA head Asa Hutchinson told CNN in 2001.

Where is Fabio Ochoa Now?

Fabio Ochoa is now in the Federal Correctional Institution in Jesup, Georgia. After getting extradited to the United States, he was sentenced to more than 30 years in prison for his continued involvement in the drug trade after winning amnesty in his home country, which allegedly resulted in the trafficking of 30 tons of cocaine monthly from 1997 to 1999. “In this world of narcotrafficking and what it did to this country, the defendant is one of four or five people who literally changed the world as we knew it,” lead prosecutor Ed Ryan said after the verdict, as per AP News.

In 2013, the Colombian authorities forfeited 116 assets belonging to Fabio. The properties were valued at 11,520 million pesos or $64 million at the time. In 2020, the legal representatives of Fabio sought early release from prison in light of the changes brought to the federal sentencing guidelines. “Now that there has been a change, retroactively, the statute now authorizes a reduction in sentence. He wants to go back to Colombia. That’s where his family is,” Fabio’s lawyer Richard Klugh said, as per AP News. Ricardo Del Toro, Assistant U.S. Attorney, argued against the early release of Fabio.

“The incapacitation of unrepentant major criminals like Ochoa is one of the goals of the sentencing law and guidelines. Since the time he was a teenager and continuously into his 40s, Ochoa has refused to turn away from criminal misconduct,” Ricardo wrote, as per The Seattle Times. In February 2023, Fabio, through his intellectual property lawyer Julián Mesa Gil, applied for two national invention patents before the Superintendence of Industry and Commerce in Colombia. As per Gil, his client has been carrying out research in the field of clean energy in the ocean. Fabio’s inventions are HOPES 10, a submarine to pressurize and store pure hydrogen and other gases, and HOPES 5, a submarine wind battery that stores energy.

In December 2023, several Colombian press outlets reported that Fabio is expected to get released from prison earlier than expected following a reduction of up to 15% of the sentence. The Federal Bureau of Prisons confirms the report since his release date on the record is September 14 this year. If released from prison, he is expected to be deported to Colombia, where his wife and three grown children are living, according to the documents submitted in court in 2020.

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