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Man gets 25 years for helping to run a drug ring out of a Hyde Park condo and handing off cash to money launderers outside his parents' Dorchester bodega

A federal judge this week agreed with prosecutors and sentenced Fermin Castillo, 43, to 25 years in federal prison following his conviction on charges of conspiracy to distribute over 400 grams of fentanyl and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Castillo, who grew up in Bani in the Dominican Republic and lived for a time in Dorchester, helped orchestrate the shipment of fentanyl supplied the Sinaloa cartel in Mexico - and the laundering of money via Chinese money launderers in the New York and Boston areas, according to court records. A federal jury convicted him in May along with another ring member, Andre Heraux Martinez, who is scheduled for sentencing on Dec. 11, according to the US Attorney's office.

One of the prosecution's key witnesses in their trial was a man once identified as the leader of the ring, Cesar Castro Pujols of Milton, who has agreed to plead guilty for his role in the operation, at a hearing scheduled for Dec. 7.

Prosecutors say Castillo turned a condo at the Canterbury Village Condominiums at Hyde Park Avenue and American Legion Highway into a stash house for the drugs being shipped up here from Mexico - where Castillo had spent much of his time in recent years organizing the Boston-area drug operation. In their sentencing memorandum, in which they urged a 25-year sentence, prosecutors wrote:

CASTRO testified at trial that the apartment was rented by CASTILLO to be used by the DTO to store and package drugs. Toll records for a phone used by CASTILLO also tied him to the location. At the conclusion of the investigation, investigators searched numerous locations, including 800 Hyde Park, where they recovered over 10 kilograms of fentanyl, cutting agents, drug ledgers, kilogram presses, respirators, and packaging materials.

Prosecutors continued that Castillo handed over $616,000 in cash to either money launderers or undercover agents posing as money launderers outside La Bamba Market, Lorne and Harvard streets in Dorchester, where as a teen, he worked for his parents, who opened the store after moving to Boston from Queens, when Castillo was 14.

They added:

[T]he Defendant was the leader of a massive DTO [drug-trafficking organization] that distributed well over a million dollars-worth of fentanyl and laundered drug proceeds for purposes of repatriating the money to Mexico-based suppliers. The Defendant directed the distribution his Massachusetts-based network from Mexico and on behalf of the Mexico based suppliers with whom he worked.

Castillo's attorney, Michael Pabian, urged US District Court Judge William Young to sentence Castillo to no more than ten years because, aside from being a leader of a Mexican fentanyl ring, Castillo is really "an exceptional human being" who overcame childhood hardships that included sexual abuse at the hands of relatives to whom his parents entrusted him to become somebody who loves and is loved by everyone in his family, who would buy sweaters for cold poor people on trips back to his native Bani and who even went so far as to grapple with and help detain a bank robber who claimed to be armed with a bomb in Dorchester.

Pabian attached a copy of a BPD report to his sentencing memo for an incident on Sept. 9, 2011 at a Mount Washington Bank branch on Morrissey Boulevard, during which arriving officers found Castillo "struggling with the bank robbery suspect," with no thought for his own personal safety, even as the guy yelled he had a bomb.

The defense submits that this incident speaks volumes about the type of person that Mr. Castillo is. He personally had nothing to lose by simply allowing the suspect to walk out of the bank with the money. Indeed, that is unquestionably what most of us would do in that situation. But not Mr. Castillo. At great personal risk to himself, he intervened to stop the crime. And Mr. Castillo refused to relent, even when the suspect threatened him with a bomb. This was an exceptionally selfless act by a special person.

Pabian did allow that:

According to the jury verdict, at some point, Mr. Castillo took the easy way out. In the approximately one-year period of the charged conspiracies, he strayed from the values that he has embodied for most of his life, the values that he teaches his children: hard-work, selflessness, empathy, and compassion for others.

He continued:

But the jury's finding of criminal misconduct, serious though it was, does not, alone, define Mr. Castillo. It does not undo the good that Mr. Castillo has done for countless others. Mr. Castillo is, like all of us, a human being, who deserves to be judged by the totality of his actions, including both the good and the bad.

Hold on a sec, assistant US attorneys Leah Foley and Stephen Hassink countered - this was hardly Castillo's first ride on the drug train:

His prior convictions include a 2012 conviction for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. At the time of his arrest in that case, he was in possession of $213,159, which he brought with him expecting to purchase 10 kilograms of cocaine. His supervised release in that federal case was terminated early in February 2016. Two years later, he was again arrested in New Jersey while transporting $68,792 and fentanyl in a hidden compartment inside a Jeep. In 2006, he was convicted of possession with intent to distribute cocaine; that conviction was later vacated in 2012.

They added:

The fact that he could be kind to strangers and cared about his family is laudable. However, [H]is callous disregard for the countless people who suffered from the drugs he was distributing is what needs to be addressed at sentencing. A person does not rise to the level of leadership that CASTILLO did in such a massive DTO without dedication to the mission of the organization, which is to sell as much drugs as possible for profit. The Defendant’s recommended sentence does not come close to addressing sufficiently the seriousness of the offenses of conviction and his leadership role.



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Maybe you and the bank robber bomber can wrestle for fun in prison.

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Scary to think that stuff could kill innocent residents if residue was in the common areas of the building and they touched a handrail, swept a door mat, turned a doorknob.

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I am enjoying the defense lawyer's touching writing for a defendant who has been know to sell cocaine and fentanyl by the kilogram for almost two decades.

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But cry me a river with his past.......selling poison negates his sob story.
I lost a sister to drugs and have no sympathy for dealers, of course she was an adult and chose to use but these scumbags contribute to all the overdoses in society.

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