Drug kingpin pleads guilty to running a cocaine operation

Published On: Jan 24 2014 10:30:34 AM EST
Updated On: Jan 24 2014 04:34:28 PM EST

This Associated Press photo of Diego Perez Heano being deported from Venezuela was taken July 25, 2012 in Caracas.

MIAMI, Fla. -

It took years for authorities to catch up to the infamous Diego Perez Henao, also known as Diego Rastrojo and Perez Henao. On Friday, he pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges in federal court in Miami. 

During the plea hearing, Henao, 42, admitted that from 1994 to 2008 he participated in the production and shipment of cocaine to Mexican cartels with the help of highly armed workers in airplanes, trucks and semi-submersibles.

The infamous kingpin's journey to the Miami courtroom was long. In 2011, Henao was accused of being the leader of a criminal group known as "Los Rastrojos." He was caught in Venezuela in 2012, and months later extradited to the U.S. by way of Colombia.

“The collaboration between the United States and the Colombian government has been essential in the arrest," said Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Mark R. Trouville in a statement.

Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Michael B. Steinbach agreed.

"Henao’s drug trafficking enterprise knew no boundaries, reinforcing the FBI’s commitment to working with law enforcement agencies around the world," Steinbach said in a statement.

Members of "Los Rastrojos" were known to do business with "The Hells Angels," a worldwide network of motorcycle clubs founded in the U.S. They also had a network  that extended to Europe.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Fels is the prosecutor in the case.  Henao, who faces a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years, is scheduled to be sentenced June 5, 2014.

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