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Colombian drug kingpin gets 25 years in US prison for plan to import massive amounts of cocaine

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The former leader of a violent Colombian drug cartel was sentenced on Tuesday to 25 years in a U.S. prison after pleading guilty to conspiring to import massive amounts of cocaine into the United States.

Ericson Vargas Cardona, 42, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska in Manhattan, after pleading guilty last April of conspiring to traffic in cocaine and using a semiautomatic assault weapon in the process.

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Vargas, who authorities said by the time of his capture by Colombian authorities in 2012 had risen to the top of the leadership of the drug cartel La Oficina de Envigado, said he had only himself to hold responsible for why he was in court.

Speaking through a translator, and clad in tan jail clothing, Vargas, who was extradited from Colombia in 2013, said that in the years since his capture, he had “come to be happy that life has come to an end.”

Prosecutors said that from 2000 to 2012, Vargas was a member of La Oficina, which began as a debt collection agency associated with the paramilitary organization United Self-Defenses Forces of Colombia.

Authorities said La Oficina collected debts for drug traffickers and invested in drug shipments before eventually producing cocaine independently, and also engaged in systemic bribery of Colombian officials and violence.

Prosecutors said Vargas began working for La Oficina by stealing cars and eventually became an assassin.

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He continued to rise through its ranks, and after his predecessor surrendered to authorities in 2009, became its leader, prosecutors said.

“Armed with machine guns, explosives, and a grenade launcher, Vargas Cardona distributed his drugs all over the world, including the United States,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.

Vargas’ capture followed a lengthy manhunt that ended at a farm prosecutors said was used to store an arsenal of weapons and explosives, including 69 bars of C4 explosives, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, and machine and sub-machine guns.

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(Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Bernard Orr)


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BUSTED: Trump flack Kayleigh McEnany has voted by mail 11 times in the last 10 years

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Trump White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany this week echoed President Donald Trump's statements that allowing everyone to vote by mail would result in an unprecedented surge in "voter fraud."

However, a review conducted by the Tampa Bay Times has found that McEnany herself has voted by mail a total of 11 times in the past decade alone.

"In fact, the Tampa native has voted by mail in every Florida election she has participated in since 2010," the Tampa Bay Times has found. "Most recently, she voted by mail in the state’s March 2020 presidential primary, just as Trump did after he made Florida his new permanent home."

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Kentucky militant’s wife plays victim after militia leader fired for hanging governor in effigy

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A right-wing militant was fired for hanging Kentucky's governor in effigy during a lockdown protest -- and his wife is furious.

Terry Bush, president of the Kentucky 3 Percenters militia group, lost his job Tuesday with Neil Huffman Auto Group after he was photographed and recorded hanging Gov. Andy Beshear in effigy before demonstrators gathered outside the governor's mansion and demanded that he come outside, reported the Courier-Journal.

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Jerry Nadler shoots down Eric Trump’s attempt to paint him as a hypocrite on mail-in voting

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This Wednesday morning, President Trump's son, Eric Trump, took a dig at Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) by tweeting out an old video featuring Nadler saying that "paper ballots are extremely susceptible to fraud," in an attempt to paint Democrats as hypocrites in light of President Trump's disparagement of mail-in voting.

https://twitter.com/EricTrump/status/1265605224699441153

"At least with the old clunky voting machines that we have in New York, deliberate fraud is way down," Nadler says in the video.

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