The Miami Herald
Feb. 19, 2002

Fabio Ochoa Restrepo, drug family patriarch

                      BOGOTA, Colombia - (AP) -- Fabio Ochoa Restrepo, the patriarch of one of Colombia's most important
                      drug trafficking families, died Monday of kidney failure. He was 78.

                      Fabio Ochoa, whose sons were top lieutenants in Pablo Escobar's Medellín cartel, was never accused
                      of drug trafficking, but he always defended his family's reputation.

                      His oldest son, Jorge Luis Ochoa, told RCN television that his father, who had been overweight and in
                      ill health for much of his adult life, suffered a blood infection last week.

                      Most of the family gathered at the La Loma ranch Monday. Fabio Ochoa was a renowned horse

                      Jorge Luis Ochoa noted that his father's namesake and youngest son, Fabio Ochoa Vasquez, could not
                      attend because he is in jail in the United States on drug trafficking charges.

                      The Medellín cartel turned drug trafficking into a multibillion dollar industry.

                      In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Escobar unleashed a campaign of bombings and assassinations in
                      an attempt to intimidate the state into abolishing extraditions.

                      The Ochoa family chose a more peaceful approach, and Ochoa Vasquez was the first major trafficker to
                      turn himself in to authorities in exchange for a promise he wouldn't be extradited for past crimes.

                      His surrender opened the way for his two older brothers to also turn themselves in.

                      The deal, and a subsequent constitutional reform outlawing extradition, were struck in hopes of ending
                      the violence, which finally abated when police killed Escobar in 1993.

                      A December 1997 constitutional change reinstated extradition but only for crimes committed after that

                      The three brothers spent five years in Colombian jails and vowed not to get involved in drugs again
                      when they were released in 1996.

                      However, Ochoa Vasquez was indicted in federal court in Florida on charges that after 1997 he
                      resumed trafficking to the United States via Mexico.

                      The elder Ochoa defended his son until the end, insisting that Ochoa Vasquez was innocent the day
                      before he was extradited to the United States last year.