NEW YORK — A Colombian described as one of history’s biggest cocaine dealers was sentenced to 35 years in prison Monday by a Manhattan judge who called the scope of his crimes “staggering.”

Known as El Loco, Daniel Barrera Barrera, 48, was sentenced by Judge Gregory Woods, who rejected a lawyer’s request for leniency on the grounds that his client tried to cooperate, urged others to surrender and had rescued victims of kidnappings. The sentence included a $10 million forfeiture and $10 million fine.

“The scope of the offenses here is staggering,” Woods said. “He is dangerous. … Too short a sentence would provide him the opportunity to commit additional crimes.”

The judge said evidence demonstrated that Barrera, who once regularly carried an automatic weapon, used to threaten or kill individuals who owed his drug organization money or who posed a threat to his business.

Prosecutors said he shipped at least 720 tons of cocaine from Colombia to the United States as part of a massive operation that sent drugs to four continents and utilized a submersible vehicle to transport drugs. Barrera had admitted distributing 400 tons of cocaine annually from 1998 to 2011 with an organization backed by lethal drug cartels and terrorist groups.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Fels urged Woods to reject Barrera’s lawyer’s attempt to portray him as a victim of a culture of violence in an area of Colombia overrun by cocaine networks and militias, including terrorist organizations.

Barrera was extradited to the U.S. in 2013.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.