Colombian drug lord pleads guilty in Miami federal court

Jan. 25, 2014 at 4:58 PM

MIAMI, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Federal prosecutors in Florida announced a notorious Colombian drug kingpin has pleaded guilty to charges he distributed more than 178,000 pounds of cocaine.

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Wifredo A. Ferrer said Diego Perez Henao, 42, aka "Diego Rastrojo," pleaded guilty Friday to one count related to his involvement running a major cocaine trafficking ring between his native Colombia and south Florida.

Perez Henao was so well known in the drug underworld other Colombian traffickers began calling themselves "Rastrojos" in homage to him.

Perez Henao allegedly operated the drug ring from 1994 to January, 2008, when he was captured in Colombia. He was later extradited to the United States to face prosecution.

"Diego Perez Henao was the kingpin of a prolific drug cartel responsible for the production and shipment of over 80,000 kilograms [178,000 pounds] of cocaine into the United States," Ferrer said. "The conviction of Perez Henao concludes one of the most significant chapters in the history of the Colombian drug trade. With the continued collaboration and assistance of our law enforcement partners, here and abroad, we will continue our efforts to bring the most powerful and prolific drug lords to justice."

He faces life in prison at sentencing.

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