An accused drug lord who once ran Colombias biggest right-wing criminal gang made his first appearance in Miami federal court Thursday on a conspiracy charge of smuggling cocaine into the United States.
Diego Perez Henao, 42, was extradited from Colombia to Miami on Wednesday, one year after Venezuelan soldiers captured him. He was turned over to Colombian authorities.
Perez Henao rose to power after the fall of the North Valley cartel. He was indicted by a federal grand jury in 2011, following an investigation by the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration.
If convicted, Perez Henao faces up to life in prison. He is being represented by veteran Miami criminal defense attorneys Peter Raben and Neil Schuster.