Suspected drug kingpin nixes plea deal in Miami

By HARRY R. WEBER | June 14, 2011 | 11:59 AM EDT

The suspected leader of a Colombian cocaine cartel has opted at the last minute to go to trial instead of pleading guilty to a drug conspiracy charge. His attorney says the deal prosecutors offered meant Jaime Alberto Marin-Zamora would likely die in prison.

An exasperated U.S. District Judge Patricia Seitz warned Tuesday that the latest continuance in Marin-Zamora's case would be his last. She has set a trial for Sept. 26.

Defense lawyer David Fernandez tells The Associated Press that prosecutors offered a plea deal that would effectively mean a life sentence, which is the maximum Marin-Zamora faces if convicted. Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Fels declined to comment.

The 46-year-old Marin-Zamora was captured at a resort island off the Venezuelan coast.