Florida Jury Convicts Guatemalan Drug Kingpin

MIAMI (AP) — A federal jury in Miami has convicted a Guatemalan drug kingpin described by U.S. authorities as a key conduit for shipments of large quantities of cocaine to the U.S.

Jurors convicted Mario Ponce Rodriguez on Tuesday after a nine-day trial. He faces a maximum of life in prison when sentenced in August.

Trial testimony showed that Ponce ran operations in Guatemala and Honduras in which shipments of Colombian cocaine were flown in, hidden and then ultimately shipped through Mexico to the U.S.

Evidence showed that Ponce also had his own cocaine processing plant, paid bribes to government officials and had airstrips on a large estate he owned in Guatemala.

Ponce was arrested in May 2011 by Honduran authorities and ultimately extradited to the U.S. to stand trial.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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