The boss of a Colombian drug cartel that smuggled billions of dollars
worth of cocaine into the United States and terrorized people into
silence has pleaded guilty to murder, drug trafficking and racketeering
Forty-eight year old Diego Montoya, also known as "Don
Diego," made his plea Tuesday in a Miami, Florida courtroom. He will
be sentenced in October and prosecutors are seeking a 45-year prison
term. Authorities charged him with heading the powerful Norte Valle
drug cartel, which rose to become Colombia's most prolific cocaine
cartel after the demise of the Medellin and Cali cartels in the
Federal officials say at the Norte Valle's peak, the
cartel supplied 60 percent of all Colombian cocaine transported to the
United States. Montoya was arrested in 2007, after an intense manhunt
which concluded when he was found hiding in a dry riverbed.
Norte Valle cartel was a family-run operation. In April, a U.S.
District judge sentenced Diego Montoya's younger brother, Eugenio
Montoya Sanchez to 30 years in prison on charges including conspiracy
to import cocaine and obstruction of justice.
government says the cartel used violence and murder to prevent people
from passing information to law enforcement officials and to "instill
Some information for this report was provided by AP.