Head of drug trafficking operation gets 16 years in prison

Javier King Ariano (Photo: Northern Neck Regional Jail)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A Panamanian man who ran an international cocaine trafficking ring has been sentenced to 16 years in prison.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that 48-year-old Javier King Ariano apologized for his crime during a sentencing hearing on Friday. Speaking through a translator, Ariano said he “committed a great sin.”

Ariano ran an operation that brought cocaine on ships into U.S. ports. Judge Henry E. Hudson said the man was responsible for bringing 125 pounds of cocaine into the U.S.

Prosecutors said Ariano shipped more than 40 kilograms of cocaine to Charleston last March. Authorities replaced two kilograms with tracking devices before the drugs could be delivered to couriers and the drugs were seized near Richmond.

Ariano had faced up to life behind bars.