Federal courthouse
Federal courthouse in downtown San Diego. Photo by Chris Stone

A former U.S. Marine who pleaded guilty to running a drug trafficking organization that moved large quantities of cocaine into the United States has been sentenced to more than 16 years in federal prison.

Angel Dominguez Ramirez Jr., 50, of Tamaulipas, Mexico, was sentenced in San Diego federal court on Tuesday for moving “ton-quantities” of cocaine from South America to Mexico, then into the U.S., according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Dominguez  admitted heading a group called El Seguimiento 39, El Seg. 39, or “The Company,” which utilized alliances with other drug trafficking organizations to move around 10 tons of cocaine into the United States per month, as well as at least $10 million monthly in drug proceeds back into Mexico at the organization’s height.

According to a prosecutor’s sentencing memorandum, El Seg 39 commanded “a vast network of transportation coordinators, money launderers, couriers, sources of supply and drug supply brokers.” Prosecutors say Dominguez was “the unquestioned leader of El Seg 39,” and “controlled every aspect of his organization.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said El Seg 39 was also able to interfere with investigations into its activities through its contacts with “corrupt high-level Mexican officials.”

Dominguez, who was arrested in Mexico in 2016 and extradited to the U.S. three years later, pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy charges related to drug trafficking and money laundering.