TAMPA -- A Colombian cocaine trafficker who U.S. authorities say used submarine-like vessels to move major drug loads has been sentenced to more than 19 years in federal prison.
Prosecutors said Wednesday a Tampa federal judge imposed the sentence on 39-year-old Alex Gonzalez-Arango. He pleaded guilty to U.S. drug charges in March.
Court documents show that Gonzalez-Arango organized the shipment in 2011 of multiple tons of cocaine on two different semi-submersible vessels operating out of Venezuela and Colombia. The Coast Guard intercepted both vessels, which were scuttled by their crews, and recovered numerous bales of cocaine.
The case was part of Operation Panama Express, which targets South American-based drug trafficking organizations responsible for smuggling drugs to the U.S. and elsewhere.