A Colombian described as one of history's biggest cocaine dealers was sentenced to 35 years in prison Monday by a Manhattan judge who called the scope of his crimes "staggering." Known as El Loco, Daniel Barrera Barrera, 48, was sentenced by Judge Gregory Woods, who rejected a defense lawyer's request for leniency on the grounds that his client tried to cooperate, urged others to surrender, and had rescued victims of kidnappings, the AP reports. The sentence included a $10 million forfeiture and a $10 million fine. "He is dangerous," Woods said as he imposed a sentence requested by the US government. "Too short a sentence would provide him the opportunity to commit additional crimes."
The judge said evidence demonstrated that Barrera used to threaten or kill individuals who owed his drug organization money or who posed a threat to his business. Prosecutors said he shipped at least 720 tons of cocaine from Colombia to the US as part of a massive drug dealing operation that sent drugs to four continents and utilized a submersible vehicle to transport drugs. Barrera had admitted distributing 400 tons of cocaine worldwide annually from 1998 to 2011 with an organization backed by lethal drug cartels and terrorist groups. Barrera was captured in Venezuela in 2012 and extradited to the US in 2013. He pleaded guilty a year later. Miami US Attorney Wilfredo Ferrer said Barrera's reach worldwide was unprecedented. "Today's sentencing closes the chapter on Barrera's reign as one of the largest cocaine traffickers in history," he said. (Read more drug cartel stories.)