Daniel Barrera Barrera, also known as 'Loco' or 'The Madman', was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gregory Woods in Manhattan after pleading guilty to various narcotic-related charges and to having conspired to engage in money laundering.
Woods, who also fined Barrera $10 million and ordered him to forfeit the same amount, called the Colombian national a 'smart, talented, maybe even gifted man' who went from working as a farm hand to heading a violent drug trafficking organization.
Speaking through a Spanish translator before the sentence was imposed, Barrera said he wanted the opportunity to be released from prison someday and see his grandchildren.
'I ask for my family's forgiveness for all of the suffering I have caused them,' he said.
According to authorities, Barrera, 48, had been one of the most prolific drug traffickers of the last two decades before his capture in Venezuela in 2012 following years in hiding.
A wealth of evidence was collected against the cosmetically enhanced drug lord, who had several plastic surgeries and tried to burn off his fingerprints with acid to mask his identity.
Evidence against Barrera included photographs and other documents related to the seizures of cocaine shipments off the coasts of Venezuela and Florida.
Barrera would buy raw cocaine paste from the leftist rebel group FARC and processed it in laboratories in areas controlled by the now-demobilized paramilitary group the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, or AUC.