COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — An alleged transnational cocaine smuggler has flown from Colombia to Columbus for a federal criminal drug trafficking trial.

Julio Ernesto Jimenez-Oyaga appeared in federal court in Columbus Friday after he was extradited from Colombia. He has been in the custody of Colombian authorities since June 2021, two years after a U.S. grand jury indicted him on felony drug charges.

Jimenez-Oyaga and co-defendant Sergio Valderrama-Areiza are accused of conspiring with others to coordinate the shipment of thousands of kilograms of cocaine from Colombia to the U.S. According to an unsealed version of the indictment, the conspiracy included soliciting “investors” who would contribute cocaine to shipment loads and fisherman to transport the cocaine, paying “taxes” to send cocaine through areas of land or sea controlled by another drug trafficking organization, and harboring co-conspirators who were at risk of extradition.

The indictment alleges the two coordinated cocaine shipments from Colombia to Panama and other Central American countries, knowing it would be shipped for illegal use in the U.S. Law enforcement seized several cocaine shipments in Panama from July to November 2018, including, totaling more than 250 kilograms.

Jimenez-Oyaga has been charged with two counts of conspiracy to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine, knowing it would be illegally imported into the U.S. If convicted, he could face more than 40 years in prison.

Jimenez-Oyaga is scheduled to appear in federal court Feb. 13 at 2 p.m. for a detention hearing and remains in the custody of the U.S. Marshal Service.

The Drug Enforcement Administration and IRS offices in Columbus investigated Jimenez-Oyaga and other alleged co-conspirators as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.