A Guatemalan man described by U.S. authorities as formerly one of that nation's top drug traffickers has been sentenced to 25 years in federal prison.
Prosecutors said Wednesday that 43-year-old Mario Ponce-Rodriguez also must pay an $8.8 million judgment to the U.S. He was convicted in May by a jury of conspiracy to distribute cocaine into the U.S.
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration officials say Ponce-Rodriguez operated one of the largest cocaine trafficking cells in Guatemala. Trial evidence showed his organization sought to distribute nearly 10 tons of cocaine prior to Ponce-Rodriguez's May 2011 arrest in Honduras.
Ponce-Rodriguez was extradited to the U.S. late last year. Prosecutors had sought the maximum sentence of life behind bars.