Colombian Drug Traffickers Get Lenient Treatment in U.S.

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Several dozen Colombian drug traffickers who served prison terms in the U.S. received relatively lenient treatment for people who were also designated terrorists responsible for massacres, forced disappearances, and the displacement of entire villages, reports the New York Times. Once the paramilitary Colombians — several dozen, all told — have completed their terms, they will have served on average seven and a half years. The leaders extradited en masse will have served an average of 10 years, at most, for drug conspiracies that involved tons of cocaine.

By comparison, federal inmates convicted of crack cocaine trafficking — mostly street-level dealers who sold less than an ounce — serve on average just over 12 years in prison. Though wanted by the Colombian authorities, two traffickers won permission to stay in the U.S., and their families have joined them. Three more are seeking the same haven, and still others are expected to follow suit. “In the days of Pablo Escobar, they used to say they preferred a tomb in Colombia to a prison in the United States,” said Alirio Uribe Muñoz, a member of the Colombian Congress. “But maybe now extradition is a good deal.” The New York Times

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