WASHINGTON – A man accused of being a leader of Colombia's largest drug cartel has been extradited to the United States to face racketeering and drug charges, the Justice Department (search) said Friday.
Jairo Aparicio-Lenis (search) is a senior member of the Norte del Valle cartel (search) an organization believed responsible for smuggling more than $10 billion worth of cocaine into the United States, the government said. The indictment said the cartel sent more than 1 million pounds of cocaine from Colombia's Pacific coast to the United States through Mexico since 1990.
Aparicio-Lenis was among nine alleged cartel members indicted in April 2004 by a federal grand jury in Washington. They were charged under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act with operating a cocaine trafficking enterprise as well as cocaine importation and distribution
Aparicio-Lenis could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted of importing cocaine into the United States, the Justice Department said.
Most of those charged last year remain at large, including the man authorities consider the cartel's founding leader, Diego Leon Montoya-Sanchez. The FBI (search) has put him on its most-wanted list.