(CN) – Juárez Cartel kingpin Gilberto Salinas Doria was sentenced on Wednesday to 27 years in federal prison for smuggling 200 tons of cocaine from Mexico to the United States from 1994 to 1999.
Salinas pleaded guilty in December 2008 to narcotics conspiracy charges; he was extradited from Mexico in March 2007.
Prosecutors said Salinas arranged delivery of cocaine to wholesale distributors across the United States. He got the drugs from Columbia by way of the Juráez cartel’s based in Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo and Reynosa, Mexico.
U.S. officials said they seized 4.4 tons of cocaine in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania between 1997 and 1999.
Co-defendants Ramon Magana and Quintero Meraz arranged to pay $500,000 bribes to Mario Ernesto Villanueva Madrid, then-governor Quintana Roo, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Villanueva skipped out on the 1999 ceremony in which his successor took office – and in which Villanueva lost his legal immunity in Mexico – and took it on the lam for 2 years.
Villanueva is in Mexican custody pending a court decision on a request for extradition to the United States. Magana and Meraz are in Mexico prisons on local charges.