RICHMOND, Va. – A Panamanian man who authorities say ran an international cocaine trafficking ring has been sentenced to 16 years in prison.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that 48-year-old Javier King Ariano apologized at Friday's sentencing hearing and said he "committed a great sin."
Authorities say Ariano led an operation that brought cocaine aboard ships into U.S. ports. Judge Henry E. Hudson said the defendant was responsible for bringing 125 pounds of cocaine into the U.S.
Prosecutors said Ariano shipped more than 40 kilograms (85 pounds) of cocaine to Charleston, South Carolina, last March. Authorities replaced 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) with tracking devices before the drugs could be delivered to couriers. The drugs were seized in Virginia.
Ariano pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute cocaine with the intention of it entering the U.S.