Drug lord ‘Don Diego’ was sentenced to 45 years in prison Wednesday by a Florida court.
Judge Cecilia Altonaga of the Court of the Southern District of Florida sentenced drug lord Diego Leon Montoya Sanchez, also known as ‘Don Diego’ to 45 years in prison after finding him guilty of drug trafficking, money laundering, obstruction of justice and manslaughter
The 45-year sentence follows an agreement reached with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which dismissed 14 other charges against him. ‘Don Diego’ will also pay US$500,000 compensation to relatives of the federal witness Jairo Garcia, who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered by the Norte del Valle cartel.
48-year-old ‘Don Diego’ was head of the cartel, and was accused by the United States of transporting around 500 tonnes of cocaine to America from 1990 to 2004.
Don Diego was captured in September 2007 in the village of Vallejuelo, located between the towns of Sevilla and Zarzal, in Valle del Cauca, and was extradited to the United States on 12 December 2008, reported newspaper El Espectador.
He was one of the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted, with a five million dollar reward on his head.
His lawyer, Bill Clay, read a letter of repentance in which ‘Don Diego’ apologized to the victims of his drug operations. Clay said that ‘Don Diego’, who arrived at court shackled and wearing a beige suit, had humbly opened his heart and wanted to send a positive message to young people in Colombia and the United States reported W Radio.
Judge Altonaga acknowledged that ‘Don Diego’ “was undergoing a spiritual transition” of repentance.
His lawyer indicated at the end of the hearing that the ruling of the judge offered “reasons for hope” that ‘Don Diego’ would benefit in the future with a reduced sentence.
His brother Eugenio Montoya also made an agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and in January pleaded guilty to conspiracy to traffick drugs and obstruction of justice.
In 2005 a third brother, Juan Carlos Montoya, and his cousin Carlos Felipe Toro Sanchez, were extradited to the U.S. to face charges of drug trafficking and money laundering. Both pleaded guilty to conspiring to bring cocaine to the United States. Juan Carlos Montoya was sentenced to 21 years in prison; Toro Sanchez was sentenced to 19 years.