A Colombian angrily defended his country's good name Friday, and then was sentenced to a minimum of 10 years in prison on his conviction of smuggling cocaine through Utah.
Francisco Depaula Cardona-Silva was convicted of smuggling 13 pounds of cocaine in the side vents of a 1981 Oldsmobile, stopped March 2 on U.S. 89 in Sevier County by Utah Highway Patrolman Joe Bennett.At his sentencing, Cordona-Silva stood angrily at the defense counsel table, banging his chained hands on the table as he spoke.
"The 35 million people in Colombia do not dedicate themselves to these matters," he said. "The country provides the best coffee, fruit and flowers. My country's a country of good people."
Unfortunately, a few are not, he said, and "we have to live with the consequences."
He said he was innocent and filed a formal notice of appeal.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Wayne Dance said Congress passed a minimum mandatory-sentence provision to end "drug trafficking that is terrorizing this country."
Cordona-Silva committed his crimes because of greed, and just as stakes are high for smuggling the punishment should be equally high, Dance said.