A major Colombian drug trafficker was sentenced to 40 years in prison Wednesday by U.S. District Court Judge Leonard Wexler on Long Island.
Carlos Patino Restrepo had been secretly flown to the United States from Colombia by federal agents in 2008 and then brought to the federal courthouse in Central Islip in an armored car that was part of a 10-car convey of federal agents and state police.
Patino was convicted of three counts of violating federal drug laws by smuggling massive shipments of cocaine into the country.
Before he was arrested, Patino, in conjunction with Colombia's Norte Valle cartel, used small planes, fishing trawlers, cargo ships and go-fast boats to smuggle the cocaine into Mexico, according to assistant U.S. attorneys Allen Bode and Raymond Tierney. The Mexican cartels than smuggled the cocaine into New York, Los Angeles, Houston and Chicago, the prosectors said.
"Patino ran his cocaine empire with an iron fist. . . . His international narcotics enterprise was responsible for bringing, quite literally, tons of cocaine into the United States," said Eastern District U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch.