WASHINGTON: 06/03/2017 19:10: US Court Jails Colombia Paramilitary Leader 15 Years for Drug #Trafficking – Justice Dept – #AceNewsDesk reports – @AceNewsServices

#AceNewsReport – Mar.06: A senior paramilitary leader and one of Colombia’s most notorious drug #traffickers was sentenced on Friday to serve 198 months in prison for his role leading an international drug #trafficking conspiracy responsible for the importation of ton-quantities of cocaine into the United States.

Colombian Paramilitary Leader Sentenced to More than 15 Years in Prison for International Drug Trafficking 03/06/2017 12:00 AM Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Chief of Operations Anthony Williams of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) made the announcement.

Hernan Giraldo Serna, a Colombian national, pleaded guilty in 2009 to one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine knowing and intending that it would be imported into the United States. U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton imposed the sentence.

According to admissions in the plea agreement, Serna ascended to a leadership position in 1996 within the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (United Self Defense Forces of Colombia or AUC), a terrorist and paramilitary organization in Colombia. In September 2001, the AUC was designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. Department of State. In May 2003, the AUC was placed on the Significant Foreign Narcotics Traffickers list by order of the President, pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act.

In February 2004, Giraldo Serna individually was designated as a Tier II Kingpin by the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, subjecting him to severe economic sanctions under the Kingpin Act.

The statement of facts also established that Giraldo Serna became a senior commander in the AUC by 1996, and his armed force controlled a significant part of northern Colombia.

In connection with his guilty plea, Giraldo Serna admitted that, from the early 1990s through the early 2000s, soldiers operating under his direction controlled large areas in northern Colombia where cocaine was cultivated, produced and distributed. Giraldo Serna also admitted to providing security for drug #traffickers in the region under his control, including those individuals responsible for coca cultivation and distribution.

Giraldo Serna also admitted to knowing that multi-ton quantities of cocaine were manufactured and transiting the region under his control and that significant quantities of that cocaine was transported to the United States. He further admitted his responsibility for the illegal importation of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into the United States.

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