Colombian man pleads guilty in US to leading fatal drug ring

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A Colombian national accused of managing an international fentanyl trafficking operation from a Canadian prison has pleaded guilty in federal court.

Thirty-eight-year Daniel Vivas Ceron appeared Friday in North Dakota, where the case originated after an 18-year-old Grand Forks resident died of a fatal overdose in January 2015. Authorities say Vivas Ceron also was responsible for overdose deaths in North Carolina, New Jersey and Oregon.

Ceron pleaded guilty to three charges, including conspiracy to import controlled substances resulting in serious bodily injury and death. He faces life in prison.

More than 30 people, including five Chinese nationals, have been indicted in the case known as “Operation Denial.” U.S. Attorney Drew Wrigley of North Dakota says Vivas Ceron and his co-conspirators were “regional, national and international merchants of death.”

Charles Stock, Vivas Ceron’s lawyer, declined to comment.

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