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Mother of five drives from California to JP to pick up fentanyl and deliver it to Dorchester, gets arrested, is sentenced to nearly five years in prison

A Burbank, CA woman who drove all the way to Jamaica Plain for a job to pick up 4 1/2 pounds of fentanyl and delivery it to a buyer in Dorchester last September was sentenced Monday to 4 years, 9 months in Federal prison this week.

The buyer was actually an undercover DEA agent.

US District Court Judge Mark Wolf imposed the sentence on Adelaida Yudit Garibay, 46. She had pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl in June.

The sentence was less than recommended by the US Attorney's office, but more than requested by Garibay's attorney.

Garibay, who had been convicted of similar drug-mule charges involving marijuana, when she was 20 and again when she was 21, was working for the actual drug dealer, whom an informant had alerted the DEA to, according to filings by a DEA agent on the case and the prosecutor. That woman, and another Garibay also met with in Jamaica Plain, were not identified in Garibay's filings.

According to an affidavit by the DEA agent, an agent posing as a drug buyer contacted the dealer and arranged to buy two kilos of fentanyl for $82,000, to be delivered to him at the South Bay Mall in Dorchester. That woman in turn contacted Garibay, who drove to Boston to act as courier for the roughly 3 1/2-mile trip from Jamaica Plain to the mall.

On the evening of Sept. 29, the agent arrived at the mall and talked by phone with Garibay, who at first tried to convince him to meet at Washington and McBride streets in Jamaica Plain, near where the Drinking Fountain used to be. But the agent didn't want to travel there, and she agreed to bring the drugs to him, specifically, outside the South Bay Home Depot.

Investigators then traveled to the area of Washington Street and McBride Street. At about 8:52 p.m., investigators observed a Hispanic female talking on her cell phone in front of the Planet Fitness located at 3525 Washington Street - this female was later determined to be GARIBAY. A short time later, investigators observed GARIBAY walking toward the corner of Washington Street and Burnett Street, where she met with a second woman. The two women then began walking down Burnett Street. A Boston detective dressed in plain clothes followed the two females and saw them standing in a dark corner on Burnett Street. There, a third female arrived on foot and handed a dark-colored shopping bag to GARIBAY. The three women then departed in different directions.

Garibay then ordered up an Uber, which the investigators followed to Dorchester, the affidavit continues

A short time later, Boston Police, in a marked vehicle, conducted a traffic stop of the Uber vehicle in Dorchester. The female who had been standing in front of the Planet Fitness was sitting in the rear passenger seat and was identified as Adelaida Yudit GARIBAY. Investigators asked GARIBAY to exit the vehicle. Investigators saw a dark-colored shopping bag on the floor where GARIBAY had been sitting. The bag was open to view, and officers saw two packages inside it. The packages were wrapped in clear plastic and green cellophane with a tan powdery substance showing. Based on the officers' training and experience, they believed the packages contained approximately 2 kilograms of fentanyl. GARIBAY denied that the bag was hers. Investigators then arrested GARIBAY.

Later that evening, investigators conducted a field test of the substance in the packages seized from GARIBAY's feet. The substance tested positive for fentanyl.

At the time of her arrest, GARIBAY possessed several cell phones. Agents asked the UC to call the telephone numbers s/he had been using to converse with the female who was looking to sell fentanyl. When the UC did so, one of GARIBAY's cellphones rang/buzzed in the agents' presence. Based on my training and experience, I believe that GARIBAY was the same female who the UC had been speaking with to negotiate the fentanyl transaction.

Before Wolf sentenced Garibay, her attorney, Joshua Hanye, urged a sentence of 24 months, for a variety of reasons, starting with what he said was her limited role in the fentanyl sale.

Ms. Garibay played no part in bringing the drugs to Boston in the first place. She was told where to pick up the drugs from women she never met and where to bring them to a buyer she never met. Although she had some knowledge of other participants in the crime, her knowledge was limited. She did not plan or organize the offense, but did willingly participate, most obviously in driving from California to Boston do so. She also expected to be paid for her participation, but far less than other participants would have received.

But also, Garibay acknowledged her mistake, by pleading guilty, and has the support of a loving family of her husband and five children, whom she nurtured for more than two decades before making a truly stupid mistake and agreeing to take a job as a drug courier, he wrote, noting "the crossroads" she found herself in as a young mother of two, just out of a ten-month sentence as a marijuana courier in 1998:

At this point, at 21 years old with two young children and having just been released from prison, Adelaida Garibay's life was clearly at a crossroads. There were many forces that would have pushed her back to crime in a shortsighted attempt to earn money to support her family. Yet she chose not to do that. For the next 24 years she worked demanding jobs, supported her family, and abided the law. Such a change would not have happened without hard work. ...

Ms. Garibay has already demonstrated her ability to change her life under much more difficult circumstances when she was a young mother fresh off a prison sentence. Now she will serve a much longer sentence, but she will have a support network waiting for her. This support network is further support for a downward variance because a guidelines sentence is not necessary to accomplish the goals of sentencing, including deterrence from future criminal conduct.

He added that she should get a lesser sentence because of the many ailments she suffers - including chronic back pain that has required surgery, high cholesterol, pre-diabetes, and obesity.

In contrast, assistant US Attorney Samuel Feldman urged a sentence of almost six years, saying she was no "naïve one-timer doing someone a favor," but somebody who drove 3,000 miles to deliver 2 kilos of an illegal and potentially deadly drug - and that her past convictions were enough to make her "well-equipped to understand
what it means to transport narcotics."

Further, Feldman wrote, she "argued" with the buyer/DEA agent about the logistics of making the drug exchange: "Defendant may not have conceived the idea of selling drugs in Massachusetts but she participated in coordinating it and executing it."



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What does “ecommended” mean?

Voting closed 11

It should read "recommended."

Voting closed 12

I just didn't slam down that R key like the flea-, um, hard-bitten, two-fisted reporter I am. Fixed.

Voting closed 31

Is it common for someone to drive cross country to do a 3 mile drug mule run? Seems really strange.

Voting closed 41

The gig economy has affected criminal enterprises in interesting ways. This video about tracking and catching scam artists (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrKW58MS12g&t=863s) has some footage that might be similar to the above case.

The scammers were working out of India, calling Americans and convincing them to mail them cash through an elaborate scheme. But the victims were instructed to mail the cash to a US address, not to India directly. It turned out that the scammers were using a network of mules, Americans who were called upon to travel (sometimes long distances) and stay at AirBnBs to receive packages for a short period of time. They'd then extract the cash, which was usually hidden in books, consolidate it down, and hand it off to a boss who they didn't know well. The mules were required to take video of themselves opening the packages to prevent them from stealing the money (and also to conveniently provide blackmail material to their employer) without the boss having to physically oversee the operation.

It's impressive, and a little scary. It sounds like there's a very efficient criminal network operating already, and the people doing most of the legwork don't even know who they're working for or what they're carrying.

Though I agree, the logistics of sending someone across the country for such a small run seem strange - but also like something that a black market version of Uber would wind up doing.

Voting closed 23

I was also wondering; that's over 40 hours of driving each way, not to mention the expenses -and carbon footprint for those who care. There has to be something missing to that story. It wouldn't be that hard or expensive to find a local person with proper qualification for the task.

Although I don't purposely associate with that crowd, I can think of 3 or 4 highly morally flexible people I know who, for a reasonable fee, would happily take care of such a delivery job. One of them is a former tenant I recently convinced to find a home better suited to his lifestyle. He had all the credentials and I could provide the appropriate references.

Voting closed 18

That someone who is willing to deliver enough fentanyl to kill thousands probably doesn't give a rat's ass about her carbon footprint.

I'd say it's also highly likely that her drive from California to Boston probably wasn't undertaken just so she could deliver drugs from JP to Dot. Just the gas for that round-trip would cost at least a thousand bucks; it'd be cheaper to fly, especially considering that she apparently used an Uber for her intra-Boston trip. I don't know the going rate for a local drug mule, but I doubt it's high enough to cover a week-plus of her time plus the round-trip from Cali.

But the 2 kilos of fentanyl from JP to Dot was what the Feds could prove, so that's what she was charged with.

Voting closed 27

And according to this DEA press release about a 2018 case, that would be enough to kill around a million people. Lucky for her it was securely packaged, I guess.

Interesting that the legal threshold appears to be 400 grams, and she got caught with five times that amount.

Voting closed 9

2 kilos. Your old-timey local dealer might do ounces and pounds, but Big Crime is on the metric system. It's essential when you're engaged in international commerce.

Voting closed 29

He added that she should get a lesser sentence because of the many ailments she suffers - including chronic back pain that has required surgery, high cholesterol, pre-diabetes, and obesity

She was healthy enough to drive her fat ass across the country.

Voting closed 66

I should really know this after years of watching police procedurals, but this seems like a lot of effort to convict a low level mule. Fentanyl et al are truly a plague on society but if this woman wasn’t willing to turn on the dealer it seems a disappointingly ineffective use of manpower and resources.

Voting closed 16

Is this what JP has become?

Voting closed 12

No, it's still a lovely, vibrant neighborhood with a high population density, where sometimes something bad happens.

Voting closed 25

I have lived in JP for years now, and the decline of the neighborhood sickens me. It's bad enough all the suspect dealings going on down by the pond, and so-called 'bandstand' (which never has any actual bands), but people have become so brazen lately that it beggars belief.

Just the other day, my elderly neighbor and I were making our way down Centre st for our weekly post-mass pot roast dinner, which we have done for the last forty years. We were amazed to see people of all sorts, even reputable looking Celtics fans, leaving two 'businesses' with suspicious, cylindrical foil-wrapped packages. Some had translucent bags with four or five of these packages showing through, clear as day, and they walked right by the police, who did nothing!

I don't know if everyone's on the take, but it's clear something is terribly wrong. Please be vigilant, and take extra note of anyone you see leaving the "Purple Cactus" or "Chilicates" as these look to be the masterminds of this drug ring. Please stay safe.

Voting closed 46

So dealers in JP could not find someone locally to deliver a package a few miles away?? Come on JP don't let your jobs be outsourced to California. This really shows how folks around here just don't want to work any longer.

Voting closed 3

Drove all the way from California for this transaction: WTF?

How much could she have been possibly expecting to be paid to make this a cost-effective idea?
Could it have been blackmail of some kind? Were one or all of her children being held hostage; her husband maybe? Will we ever know?

Voting closed 5