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In Colombia FARC Drug Case Schifano Gets Compassionate Release After Sinaloa Too

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

SDNY COURTHOUSE, May 13 – Fabio Simon Younes Arboleda was indicted, with four others, for trying to import 10,000 pounds of cocaine from Colombia into the United States. 

 On November 17, 2020 U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Valerie E. Caproni held an arraignment and bail hearing. Inner City Press covered it. 

  The US Attorney's office emphasized the defendant's connections with Seuxis Paucis Hernandez-Solarte a/k/a Jesus Santrich, of the FARC in Colombia. Reference was made to Maduro of Venezuela, and the Sinaloa cartel in Mexico.  

 The argument for bail was that he could live in Florida, near Orlando.

 But Judge Caproni did not go along - she denied bail...

On October 29, the US Attorney's Office filed a status report that it has given the defense 58 transcripts, and Spanish-language summaries of 55 calls intercepted by Colombian authorities.

Jump cut to May 2023, when Judge Caproni showing mercy ruled in the same case:  Mr. Schifano's Motion for Compassionate Release is GRANTED, and his term of incarceration is reduced to time served. Note 1(A), Medical Condition of the Defendant, to U.S.S.G. § 1B1.13, states that "extraordinary and compelling reasons exist" when (i) "[t]he defendant is suffering from a terminal illness" (hereafter "Medical Condition Note"). The Court finds that extraordinary and compelling reasons exist pursuant to the Medical Condition Note because Mr. Schifano is suffering from terminal metastatic bladder cancer; despite chemotherapy, Mr. Schifano's physicians estimate that he has a high risk of mortality within the next six months. See Gov. Resp. Ex. 2 ("Supp. Med. R."), Dkt. 203 at 3; see also Mot. Ex. 1 ("Med. R.") at 8.(See Footnote 1 on this Order). In conjunction with his recurrent bladder problems, Mr. Schifano has experienced urinary tract infections that have resulted in an alteration of his mental status. See Supp. Med. R. at 3. He has also been diagnosed with obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and cellulitis. See Order, Dkt. 53 at 2. Mr. Schifano is currently hospitalized, and his physicians have advised his transition into inpatient hospice care. See Supp. Med. R. at 3. The Court finds that a reduction in his term of incarceration to time served is compatible with the USSC's policy statements. There is no dispute that Mr. Schifano is no longer a danger or risk to society. He is sick, weak, disoriented, and bedridden. His remaining few months on earth will be spent in end-of-life care, not money laundering. Furthermore, Mr. Schifano is a model prisoner who has avoided BOP discipline and taken advantages of BOP courses and opportunities. See Gov. Resp. Ex. 1 ("Disciplinary R."); Order, Dkt. 53 at 34. Lastly, the Court considers the applicable section 3553(a) factors, and finds they do not outweigh its finding that Mr. Schifano's deteriorating health qualifies him for compassionate release. His present poor health does not, of course, reduce his culpability or diminish the harm he caused. His crimes were undoubtedly serious --- he agreed to launder millions for two violent organizations, the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia ("FARC") and the Sinaloa Cartel. Presentence Rep., Dkt. 19 Paragraphs 9, 1114. Mr. Schifano further represented to a confidential source that he had "been laundering money for 20 years --- for the Italians, the Russians, and now the FARC." Sentencing Tr., Dkt. 28 at 2526. But having been incarcerated for five years, during what should have been his golden years, and having reached a point where the quality of life is minimal, Mr. Schifano has been adequately punished. Releasing him will not discount the seriousness of his offense or diminish the message that his crimes were unacceptable. It also will not prevent his sentence from serving as a general deterrent to white-collar criminal conduct. Five years of incarceration --- up to the point of approaching death --- is not a slap on the wrist; it seems likely that no one who might be considering committing money laundering would view his sentence as lenient."

 The overall case is US v. Hernandez-Solarte, et al., 18-cr-262 (Caproni)


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