- Associated Press - Friday, January 24, 2014

MIAMI (AP) - A former Colombian drug kingpin and leader of a violent criminal gang has pleaded guilty to U.S. trafficking charges that will put him in prison at least 10 years.

Diego Perez Henao pleaded guilty Friday in Miami federal court to conspiracy to manufacture and distribute cocaine in the U.S. Perez Henao was a founder of the North Valley Cartel and led the Rastrojos gang, which has been linked to numerous murders, kidnappings and assassinations in Colombia, Venezuela, and Panama.

Sentencing guidelines call for a prison term of between 10 and 30 years, plus up to $10 million in fines. Perez Henao will be sentenced June 5 by U.S. District Judge Patricia Seitz.

Perez Henao was captured in Venezuela in 2012 and extradited to the U.S. last summer.

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