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Colombia Senator Piedad Córdoba's brother, Álvaro Córdoba, pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court Tuesday for sending 500 grams or more cocaine to New York.

"I knew that the cocaine would end up in the United States and I knew what I was doing was wrong," Álvaro told Judge Lewis J. Liman, AP News reported.

He is expected to get a mandatory five years in prison, while the sentence can also exceed two decades.

During his plea, Álvaro didn't promise to cooperate with law enforcement. The 64-year-old was arrested in Colombia in February 2022 and extradited to the United States in January last year by President Gustavo Petro, who took over the office in August 2022 with the support of Piedad.

So far, prosecutors have not accused Piedad of being involved in any of the smuggling cases. Álvaro's court-appointed attorney, John Zach, said in October's hearing that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents were targeting Piedad.

While most of the details of Álvaro's U.S. case remain under wraps, Colombian court records revealed that a Drug Enforcement Administration source approached him to seek protection in Colombia to smuggle around 3 tons of cocaine every month to New York via Mexico.

Álvaro allegedly offered the DEA source arrangements to visit a clandestine camp in southern Colombian jungles, where armed guerrillas will supply narcotics, as per prosecutors.

Before 2021 Christmas Eve, Álvaro and his associate delivered a 5-kilo (11-pound) sample of cocaine in exchange for $15,000. Just a few months after this delivery, he got arrested. Initially, Álvaro also had weapons charges against him, but after being extradited to New York, those charges were dropped.

Drug trafficking is a massive issue, not just in Colombia but also in other Latin American countries. Last month, Diana Salazar, Ecuador's attorney general, said 29 people, including the head of the country's judicial regulator, were detained for investigation in a drug trafficking case.

The United States also has a list of major drug transit or production nations that includes Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and Venezuela.

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