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Former Colombian cartel boss sentenced to 25 years in Manhattan Federal Court

February 24, 2016  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Former Colombian cartel boss sentenced to 25 years in Manhattan Federal Court

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A federal judge in New York City sentenced the former boss of a violent Colombian drug cartel on Tuesday to 25 years in prison for conspiring to import massive amounts of cocaine into the United States.

Ericson Vargas Cardona, 42, who pleaded guilty last April to charges of conspiring to traffic in cocaine and using a semiautomatic assault weapon in the process of a crime, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska in Manhattan Federal Court.

In 2012, Colombian authorities captured Vargas, and he was subsequently extradited to the U.S. back in 2013.

Vargas, who had risen to the top of the leadership of the drug cartel La Oficina de Envigado, said during his sentencing on Tuesday that he had only himself to blame for why he was in court.

The Colombian kingpin appeared in a tan prison jumpsuit and said through an interpreter that since his capture, he had “come to be happy that life has come to an end.”

Prosecutors said Vargas was a member of La Oficina criminal organization from 2000 to 2012, Vargas. He began as a debt collecting agency associated with the paramilitary organization United Self-Defenses Forces of Colombia.

Vargas then started stealing cars for La Oficina and eventually became a hit man for the cartel.

Authorities said Vargas climbed the ranks of the cartel and became its leader in 2009 after his predecessor surrendered to authorities.

“Armed with machine guns, explosives, and a grenade launcher, Vargas Cardona distributed his drugs all over the world, including the United States,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.

Leading up to Vargas’ capture, he was the target of a lengthy manhunt that ended at a farm prosecutors said was used to store an arsenal of weapons and explosives, including 69 bars of C4 explosives, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, and machine and sub-machine guns.

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