Ex-leader of Colombia-based drug organization gets 25 years

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The one-time leader of a Colombia-based drug trafficking organization has been sentenced in New York to 25 years in prison after pleading guilty to criminal charges last year.

Ericson Vargas Cardona, the former head of La Oficina de Envigado, was sentenced Tuesday in Manhattan federal court.

Vargas Cardona was extradited to the United States from Colombia in October 2013.

He pleaded guilty last April to charges that he conspired to traffic in cocaine and use a semiautomatic assault weapon.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara (buh-RAH'-ruh) said Vargas Cardona had conspired to distribute drugs around the world, including in the United States.

He said Vargas Cardona led a criminal enterprise that specialized in cocaine and violence.

A defense submission on Vargas Cardona's behalf had requested a 20-year sentence, citing a difficult childhood.