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Colombian drug lord sentenced to 16+ years in US prison

Jaime Alberto Marín Zamora, a Colombian cocaine kingpin, has been sentenced to more than 16 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to US drug trafficking charges.

Colombia drug lord sentenced USEnlarge
Colombian police officers escort part of a group of 35 members of a drug trafficking organization linked to Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, in Bogota, on February 27, 2012. The detainees are requested by the Southern District of Miami's Public Prosecutor's office, and are responsible for about 90% of the cocaine produced in southeastern Colombia bound for the United States and Mexico. (EITAN ABRAMOVICH/AFP/Getty Images)

Jaime Alberto Marín Zamora, a Colombian cocaine kingpin, has been sentenced to more than 16 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to US drug trafficking charges, reported CBS News. A judge in Miami imposed the sentence today on the 47-year-old, a former leader of Colombia's North Valley cartel. He had faced up to 24 years, but prosecutors recommended less because of his assistance in other cases.

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Marín Zamora is better known as "Beto Marín," according to El Colombiano. After hearing his sentence, he hugged his lawyer, David Fernández, and was seen smiling.

Marín Zamora pleaded guilty in October to charges that he and others smuggled 30 tons of cocaine into the US from 1999 to 2004, reported the Associated Press. He initially backed out of making a deal with prosecutors because a life sentence was still possible.

The US has arrested and convicted several top leaders of the North Valley cartel, according to CBS News and the AP. Marín Zamora was captured on an island off Venezuela in September 2010.

Because of where he was taken into custody, an extradition agreement between Colombia and the US was not imposed, reported El Colombiano. If it had been, Marín Zamora would have gotten a life sentence for his role as a drug lord.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/colombia/120327/colombian-drug-lord-sentenced-16-years-us-prison