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Press Release

Colombian National Sentenced for International Money Laundering

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts

BOSTON – A Colombian National was sentenced today in federal court in Boston for his role in a conspiracy to launder money from various international locations back to Colombia.


Pedro Mejia Salazar, 73, of Medellin, Colombia, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Allison D. Burroughs to 50 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Mejia is subject to deportation after serving his sentence. On May 3, 2017, Mejia traveled from Colombia to the United States to plead guilty to the charges against him. The following day, Mejia appeared in federal court in Boston where he was charged with - and pleaded guilty to - one count of conspiracy to launder money.


Mejia used a family business, which he ran, to launder drug proceeds for and on behalf of the criminal syndicate La Oficina de Envigado, based in Medellin, Colombia. Between May 2009 and June 2012, Mejia laundered at least $768,586 in drug proceeds at the direction of Colombian-based money brokers working for La Oficina.


This case is part of Operation Powerplay, an international undercover investigation targeting Colombia-based money brokers who launder drug proceeds for international drug trafficking organizations. The investigation targeted drug traffickers who import drugs into the United States and money launderers who use the international financial system and the Black Market Peso Exchange to return drug proceeds collected in the United States and other countries to Colombia. To date, the investigation has resulted in the seizure of approximately $15.2 million, 3,967 kilograms of cocaine, 32,000 doses of MDMA, nine kilograms of methamphetamine, 1,183 kilograms of marijuana and 7.8 kilograms of heroin.


Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb; Joel P. Garland, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation, Boston Field Division; and Michael J. Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Field Division, made the announcement today. Assistant United States Attorneys Leah B. Foley and Nathaniel R. Mendell of Weinreb’s Narcotics and Money Laundering Unit prosecuted the case.

Updated September 7, 2017