US court jails Mexico drug kingpin for 27 years

Updated: 2009-12-03 11:01

PHOENIX: A US federal judge sentenced a kingpin of Mexico's powerful Juarez drug cartel to 27 years in prison for smuggling at least 200 tons of cocaine into the United States, authorities said on Wednesday.

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Gilberto Salinas Doria pleaded guilty in December 2008 to drug conspiracy charges after being extradited from Mexico in March 2007.

Preet Bharara, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said Salinas Doria was sentenced by a judge at the Manhattan federal court.

According to court documents, Salinas Doria admitted receiving at least 200 tons of cocaine between 1994 and 1999 from Juarez cartel lieutenants in the Caribbean state of Quintana Roo and in Reynosa, south of Texas.

He arranged the onward transportation and delivery of the cocaine to wholesale distributors in New York and other cities in the United States.

Cracking down on violent Mexican traffickers, who smuggle drugs to the United States and ship cash and guns back to Mexico, is a shared objective of US President Barack Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon.

The cartels are fighting each other for control of the lucrative smuggling routes. The violence has claimed more than 15,000 lives across Mexico since Calderon sent troops to crush them in late 2006.