Colombian drug boss pleads guilty to US conspiracy charge

Colombian drug boss pleads guilty to US conspiracy charge

A Colombian drug lord known as "Papa Grande," deported from Venezuela in 2010 to face US charges, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to conspiring to traffic cocaine into the United States.

Salomon Camacho Mora, 70, pleaded guilty in Newark federal court to one conspiracy count, more than four years after he was captured in Venezuela, New Jersey US Attorney Paul Fishman announced.

Camacho at the time had a US$5 million (S$6.3 million) price on his head, a sum that would typically be only offered by the United States for major traffickers or senior cartel leaders.

He was originally indicted in 2002, spending the next eight years as a fugitive.

The US Drug Enforcement Administration has said Camacho worked with deceased cartel leader Pablo Escobar in the Cali Cartel and more recently worked for Colombia's Guajira Cartel.

Prosecutors said on Wednesday that Camado admitted he and members of his drug organisation bought multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine from various Colombian processing laboratories and arranged to transport the drug to Venezuelan shipping ports.

Camacho and others then sold the cocaine shipments to other drug trafficking organisations operating in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and the United States, prosecutors said.

Camacho faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum term of life when he is sentenced March 10 by US District Judge William Walls.

Under his plea agreement, Camacho has agreed to forfeit US$1.6 million and relinquish eight Colombian properties.

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