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Twin Chicago Traffickers-Turned-Informants Sentenced

FILE - This undated combination of photos from wanted posters released by the U.S. Marshals Service shows Pedro Flores, left, and his twin brother, Margarito Flores.

A U.S. federal judge sentenced twin Chicago drug traffickers to 14-year prison terms Tuesday in exchange for their cooperation in a case against Mexican drug cartel leaders.

Judge Ruben Castillo said he could have given Pedro and Margarito Flores life in prison. The judge, however, said the threat of being killed would always hang over the brothers' heads and that they effectively "are going to leave here with a life sentence."

The Flores brothers were Chicago's most significant drug traffickers, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Working as distributors for Mexico's Sinaloa and Beltran Leyva drug cartels, they flooded the streets of Chicago and several otter large U.S. cities with cocaine and heroin and helped smuggle nearly $2 billion back to Mexico.

The brothers started cooperating with U.S. agents in 2008, leading to the arrests and indictments of several Mexican drug kingpins.