A top Juarez cartel figure suspected of ordering more than 1,500 killings, including the slaying of a U.S. consulate employee in Mexico, has been sentenced to life in prison in a U.S. court.

Jose Antonio Acosta Hernandez pleaded guilty Thursday in El Paso to 11 counts including conspiracy, racketeering and murder. U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone sentenced Acosta to seven concurrent life terms, three additional consecutive life terms and 20 years in federal prison.

Acosta allegedly headed La Linea, the Juarez cartel's enforcement arm. Mexican authorities say the former police officer admitted to ordering 1,500 killings after being captured in July with his bodyguard in the northern Mexico city of Chihuahua.

Acosta's attorney did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.