Colombians jailed for drugs empire

Two Colombian brothers who founded the world's largest drugs cartel have pleaded guilty to conspiring to smuggle more than 200,000kg of cocaine into the United States.

    Colombia is the centre of the world's cocaine trade

    As part of an agreement that would spare several of their relatives from prosecution, Gilberto and Miguel Rodriguez Orejuela entered their pleas before a Miami court on Tuesday.

    The brothers founded the Cali cartel in the Colombian city of that name and ran a vast empire that supplied most of the cocaine sold in the United States in the early 1990s.

    At its peak, the Cali cartel controlled 80 per cent of the world's cocaine trade.

    Colombia extradited them to Florida in 2004 and 2005 to face charges of conspiring to import and distribute cocaine.

    The judge sentenced the brother to 30 years in prison, effectively ensuring the two - both in their late 60s - will spend the rest of their lives behind bars.

    The brothers also agreed to forfeit $2.1 billion of assets bought with illicit drug proceeds.

    Miguel Rodriguez Orejuela apologised to his family and asked their forgiveness for the suffering he had caused them.

    "I would also like to offer my apologies to the people of the United States," he said.

    US prosecutors said the brothers had continued to run the family business from the Colombian prison where they were serving drug sentences.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.