Colombian drug trafficker sentenced in Seattle

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SEATTLE (AP) -- A leader in a cocaine trafficking ring with links to powerful Mexican and Colombian cartels has been sentenced to 34 years in federal prison, following extradition from South America.

The U.S. Attorney's office says 41-year-old Nivaldo Riascos Renteria of Colombia played a key role in organizing transport of tons of cocaine from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, to the United States, Mexico and Europe. The FARC controls the vast majority of cocaine production in South America.

Riascos Renteria is one of three men extradited from South America and convicted of drug trafficking in Seattle. Last week, 40-year-old Miguel Antonio Jimenez Torres was sentenced to 28 years for brokering transport for Riascos Renteria's ring. The third defendant will be sentenced in November.

The investigation into Riascos Renteria started in 2007 with an undercover agent posing as a shipping executive. Riascos Renteria wanted the cocaine shipped to an area in Mexico at the time controlled by the now disbanded Beltran-Leyva cartel.