A judge also imposed a $250,000 fine on Juan Jose "Don JuanJo" Quintero-Payan, 69, who was originally charged in San Antonio in 1985 and was arrested in Mexico in 1999, the San Antonio Express-News reported.
"I ask for forgiveness to the society of the United States," he said. "I know I have done wrong, and I accept my responsibility."
Gerry Goldstein, Quintero-Payan's lawyer, asked for his client to be sent to a prison in Arizona or Southern California. Goldstein said his client is not in good health, suffering from high blood pressure and kidney stones.
Investigators say Quintero-Payan was a founder of the Juarez Cartel. He pleaded guilty to charges involving the laundering of millions of dollars in drug profits with activities that included large investments in U.S. real estate.