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Michael Hearns

launderingmoney.com

My time with Medellin Cartel boss Fabio Ochoa Vasquez

June 9, 2017

 

The youngest of the three Ochoa brothers, Ochoa Vásquez lived in Miami, Florida during the 1970s and early 1980s, and was alleged to have handled thousands of pounds of cocaine. He was indicted by the US government for the first time in 1984, and was allegedly involved in the February 19, 1986 murder of Barry Seal, (Tom Cruise plays Barry in the Movie "Only in America" ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiV3XA-sC8k )  Barry was an informant for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.In 1987, Fabio Ochoa and his brothers were included in the Forbes Magazine list of global billionaires, and remained on the list until 1992. The New York Times reported that during this period he was considered the "chief executive" of the family business.

But when I knew Fabio Ochoa he was just a few years older than me and the owner of a soccer team I played for in Miami. I was 16 years old and playing soccer in the nefarious and cutthroat adult soccer league of Miami. Many players in the league were former professional players,  or World Cup  experienced players from their home countries; most notably in South America. I played in the league three consecutive years for Colombia, Barranquilla (Colombian city) and finally for the USA team.

Fabio was a very affable and almost happily reserved guy with long shaggy hair and puka shell necklace around his neck. The first time I met him I didn't know he was our team owner and just thought he  was a David Cassidy sort of look a like. He was nice and friendly and often handed me gatorades at halftime with a a positive "Flaco you play good" comment.

Little did I know that he would become a leading member of the Medellín cocaine trafficking cartel, along with his older brothers Juan David and Jorge Luis and he would eventually be arrested and extradited to the US in 1999 . He is serving a 30 year term in US federal prison. Also little did I know that a decade later I would be  working with a DEA task force undercover posing as a money launderer for the very same Medellin Cartel As I have said many times: "I was raised with drug traffickers and money launderers. Sometimes a man's destiny is found on the road that he chooses to avoid it."

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