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United States District Court, S.D. New York

November 8, 2004.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROBERT SWEET, Senior District Judge


On July 25, 2001, defendant Beatrice Ospina ("Ospina") appeared before the Honorable Douglas F. Eaton of this district and allocuted to the conduct charged in both counts of the superseding indictment filed that same date, consisting of two counts of conspiracy to launder narcotics proceeds in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1956(a)(1)(B)(i) and 1956(h). Ospina's plea was accepted on December 10, 2001. Ospina will be sentenced to forty-one months' imprisonment and three years' supervised release. A special assessment fee of $200 is mandatory and is due immediately.


  The undersigned, having reviewed the Presentence Investigation Report prepared by the United States Probation Office, relies on the facts as set forth therein. The Offense Conduct

  Ospina was a member of a money laundering organization involving at least five co-conspirators in the New York City area from at least 1998 through November 2000. The organization's money-laundering activities were rooted in what is commonly referred to by law enforcement as the Black Market Peso Exchange ("BMPE"). The BMPE is an illegal currency exchange process which operates parallel to the official exchange system controlled by the Colombian government by affording individuals in Colombia who seek to purchase U.S. dollars a means to do so at rates of exchange more favorable than those offered through legitimate commercial channels.

  The members of the money-laundering organization collected narcotics proceeds in the New York area from co-conspirators acting on behalf of Colombian drug traffickers. The cash would then be laundered by forwarding the proceeds' equivalent in pesos to traffickers or their representatives in Colombia through various means. Ospina assisted the money-laundering organization by physically transporting currency and money orders.

  According to the government, the conspiracy involved the laundering of almost $600,000 in narcotics proceeds. At her allocution, Ospina admitted to laundering approximately $250,000 as part of this money-laundering organization. Ospina was arrested on November 29, 2000.

  The Defendant

  Ospina was born in Colombia in 1944 and came to the United States in 1969. She became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1992. In the interim, she married Jerome Diamond ("Diamond"). Ospina and Diamond have three children.

  Ospina was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and she has been receiving treatment for depression since 2001. She has no reported history of substance abuse.

  According to Ospina's financial affidavit, she has a negative net worth, based in large part on credit card debt, a mortgage on the family's home, and debt to health-care providers. She also has a negative net monthly cash flow and a number of judgments and collection accounts against her.

  According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, Bureau of Identification, Ospina has no prior criminal convictions. The Guidelines

  The November 1, 2000 edition of the United States Sentencing Commission, Guidelines Manual ("U.S.S.G.") has been utilized in this case for calculation purposes, in accordance with U.S.S.G. § 1B1.11(b)(1).

  The guideline for a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h) is found in U.S.S.G. § 2S1.1. Pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 2S1.1(a)(2), the base offense level is 20.

  As Ospina knew or believed that the funds involved in the offense conduct were the proceeds of an unlawful activity involving the manufacture, importation, or distribution of narcotics, the offense level is increased by three levels.

  As the value of funds for which Ospina was responsible is approximately $250,000, a two-level increase is warranted, pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 2S1.1(b)(2)(C).

  Based on Ospina's plea allocution, she has shown recognition of responsibility for the offense. Based on her timely notification of her intention to plead guilty and because the base offense level is greater than 16, the offense level is reduced by three levels pursuant to U.S.S.G. §§ 3E1.1(a) and 3E1.1(b). The resulting adjusted offense level is 22.

  As Ospina has no known criminal convictions, she has zero criminal history points and a Criminal History Category of I.

  Based on these calculations, the guideline range for imprisonment is forty-one to fifty-one months. The statutory maximum term of imprisonment for both counts of the superseding indictment is 20 years, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1956.

  A term of supervised release of not more than three years is required if a sentence of imprisonment is imposed, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3583(b)(2). The guideline range for a term of supervised release is at least two years but not more than three years, pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 5D1.2(a)(2). If a sentence of imprisonment of one year or less is imposed, a term of supervised release is not required but is optional, pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 5D1.1(b). Supervised release is required if a term of imprisonment of more than one year is imposed or when required by statute, pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 5D1.1(a).

  Ospina is eligible for not less than one nor more than five years' probation by statute, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3561(c)(1). Because the offense is a felony, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3561(c)(1) one of the following must be imposed as a condition of probation unless extraordinary circumstances exist: a fine, restitution, or community service. Because the applicable guideline range is in Zone D of the Sentencing Table, Ospina is not eligible for probation, pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 5B1.1, cmt. n. 2.

  The statutory maximum fine for both counts is $500,000, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3571. The fine range for the instant offense under the guidelines is from $7,500 to $500,000, pursuant to U.S.S.G. §§ 5E1.2(c)(3)(A) and 5E1.2(c)(4).

  Subject to Ospina's ability to pay, the expected costs to the government of any imprisonment, probation, or supervised release shall be considered in imposing a fine, pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 5E1.2(d)(7). The most recent advisory from the Administrative Office of the United States Courts suggests a monthly cost of $1,931.97 to be used for imprisonment, a monthly cost of $292.21 for supervision, and a monthly cost of $1,590.66 for community confinement.

  A special assessment of $100 on each count is mandatory, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3013.

  Pursuant to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, all offenders on probation, parole or supervised release for offenses committed after September 13, 1994 are required to submit to one drug test within fifteen days of commencement of probation, parole or supervised release and at least two drug tests thereafter for use of a controlled substance, unless ameliorated or suspended by the court due to its determination that the defendant poses a low risk of future substance abuse as provided in 18 U.S.C. §§ 3563(a)(5) and 3583(d).

  The Sentence

  For the instant offense, Ospina is sentenced to forty-one months' imprisonment and three years' supervised release. A special assessment fee of $200 payable to the United States is mandatory and due immediately. As Ospina lacks financial resources and in consideration of the factors listed in 18 U.S.C. § 3572, no fine is imposed.

  As mandatory conditions of supervised release, Ospina shall (1) abide by the standard conditions of supervision (1-13); (2) not commit another federal, state, or local crime; (3) not illegally possess a controlled substance; and (4) not possess a firearm or destructive device.

  The mandatory drug testing condition is suspended based on the determination that Ospina poses a low risk of future substance abuse.

  Ospina shall participate in a mental health program approved by the United States Probation Office. Ospina shall continue to take any prescribed medications unless otherwise instructed by her health-care provider. She shall contribute to the costs of services rendered not covered by third-party payment if she has the ability to pay. The release of available psychological and psychiatric evaluations and reports to the health-care provider are hereby authorized.

  Ospina shall report to the nearest Probation Office within 72 hours of release from custody and shall be supervised by the district of residence.

  This sentence is subject to modification at the sentencing hearing now set for November 8, 2004.

  It is so ordered.


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