Ex-Bolivian anti-drug chief guilty in cocaine case

June 23, 2011 - 10:44 AM

MIAMI (AP) — A former top Bolivian counternarcotics official and a co-conspirator have pleaded guilty in Miami to federal cocaine trafficking charges.

Rene Sanabria and Marcelo Foronda entered their guilty pleas Thursday, about three months after they were arrested. The charge carries a maximum life sentence but prosecutors have agreed to seek much lighter prison terms if the pair cooperates in ongoing drug investigations.

Sanabria previously headed an elite anti-drug intelligence unit in Bolivia's Interior Ministry. He was also formerly chief of the country's counternarcotics police.

Prosecutors say Sanabria's group made a deal with undercover U.S. drug agents to protect loads of Miami-bound cocaine in return for a $250,000 payment. One load of cocaine was smuggled to Miami in a shipping container and was seized by the Drug Enforcement Administration.