A Colombian paramilitary warlord who pleaded guilty to exporting tons of cocaine into the United States to fund terrorism in his homeland was sentenced in Miami to 33 years in prison, authorities said Wednesday.
Carlos Mario Jimenez, aka Macaco, was extradited in 2008 after violating a peace pact by selling drugs and commanding illegal militia fighters from inside a Colombian prison.
After his transfer to face charges in Washington and Miami, Colombian officials announced the seizure of 25 homes, 23 vehicles and six businesses belonging to Jiménez that they valued at $20 million as well as goods including 26 watches and 14 Mont Blanc pens.
His extradition in May 2008 was meant to send a message to other jailed warlords that they, too, could be shipped abroad to face stiffer prison sentences if they reverted to crime. Soon after, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe authorized the extradition of 14 other notorious paramilitary warlords to the United States.
On Wednesday, U.S. authorities applauded Jimenezs sentencing, which actually occurred under seal on May 9 of this year before U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard.
Investigations such as this clearly define the connection between drugs and terrorism, said Mark Trouville, special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in Miami.
International narco-terrorist organizations oppress communities in their home countries through force and corruption, and fund these activities by supplying illegal drugs in our communities, he said in a statement.
According to court records, Jimenez was one of the top leaders of the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC), a Colombian right-wing paramilitary and drug trafficking organization. The AUC is a U.S. Department of State-designated foreign terrorist organization.
From the mid 1990s through 2007, Jimenez led the Bloque Central Bolivar, a group within the AUC, commanding an army of 7,000 combatants. His organization, using clandestine airstrips and seaports, exported thousands of kilos of cocaine from Colombia to Central America, Mexico and the United States.
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