Once a feared Colombian cocaine kingpin, Diego Leon Montoya Sanchez repeatedly apologized to a federal judge in Miami on Wednesday for his life of trafficking, greed and murder before he was sentenced to 45 years in prison.
Montoya Sanchez, who appeared on the FBI's most wanted list alongside Osama bin Laden before his arrest in Colombia last year, admitted again and again that he had made bad choices in his early life following the death of his father in 1975.
"I have come to the conclusion that there is nothing I could ever to repair the great harm I have caused," said the one-time leader of the powerful North Valley cartel, which exported 1.2 million pounds of cocaine worth $10 billion to the United States over the previous two decades.
"It is my sincere hope to be able to bring relief to my family and the families of the victims [with this sentence] and bring their nightmare to a conclusion," said Montoya Sanchez, 48, who has three children.
In August, he pleaded guilty to conspiring to import more than five kilograms of cocaine, engage in a pattern of racketeering and obstruction of justice by murder — just months after being extradited to the United States from Colombia. The extradition agreement prohibited a life sentence. His downfall marked the end of the North Valley cartel's dominance of the cocaine trade, though it continues to fester in Colombia under new criminal syndicates and gangs.
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