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

    The Power Worshippers: A look inside the American religious right

    The Power Worshippers: A look inside the American religious right

    An insight into the history and present of Christian nationalism, the movement behind Donald Trump's religious support.

    Mapping US police killings of Black Americans

    Mapping US police killings of Black Americans

    Black Americans are two-and-a-half times as likely as white Americans to be killed by police officers.

    From the plague to MERS: A brief history of pandemics

    From the plague to MERS: A brief history of pandemics

    What you need to know about the other pandemics that shook the world.