New York, Oct 17 (EFE).- Colombian drug kingpin Daniel Rendon Herrera – known as “Don Mario,” the former head of the Clan del Golfo (Gulf Clan) drug cartel and one of his country’s most powerful drug lords – on Monday was sentenced to 35 years behind bars by a federal judge in New York, local media reported.
Rendon Herrera pleaded guilty in November 2021 to heading long-running criminal activity and conspiring to provide support to a foreign terrorist organization, and he admitted having trafficked at least 73,645 kilograms of cocaine.
The sentence was handed down by Judge Dora Irizarry in federal court for the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn.
Rendon Herrera was the head of the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC) paramilitary organization, which the US government designated as a terrorist group in September 2001.
The drug trafficker was facing a minimum sentence of 20 years and a maximum of life in prison.
Rendon Herrera also faced accusations filed by the US District Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, in Manhattan, related to his links with the AUC but those charges were transferred to the Brooklyn court.
Prosecutors say that Rendon Herrera had headed the AUC ever since the late 1990s and was the founder and head of the Los Urabeños drug cartel, also known as the Clan Usuga and Clan del Golfo.
According to the US government, the AUC, to support its political and terrorist aims, levied “taxes” on the cocaine trafficked through areas under its control, and Don Mario used assassins who committed assaults, murders and kidnappings to maintain discipline in the group, and also to control and expand its drug turf.
In 2009, when Rendon Herrera was captured by the Colombian National Police, he was in charge of 16 “blocs” or territories in Colombia and had thousands of armed paramilitaries at his command, according to the US District AG’s office Rendon Herrera is also facing charges in Colombia for his involvement in ordering numerous murders, along with extensive drug and narcotics trafficking, all of which are pending until he is released from prison in the US.