Published: Feb 09, 2011 9:31 PM EST
Updated: Feb 09, 2011 6:32 PM EST

MIAMI (AP) - The U.S. is opening a new front in the battle against Colombian cocaine producers that are jockeying to replace the old drug cartels.

Miami U.S. Attorney Willy Ferrer said Wednesday a new indictment brings drug trafficking charges one of the new leaders, 39-year-old Diego Perez Henao. He's also known as Diego Rastrojo and runs one of about 30 Colombian cocaine producers known as Bacrims (Bah'CREEMZ).

A new unit is being created in the Miami U.S. attorney's office to dismantle these groups. The goal is to prevent them from creating a new large cocaine cartel like the past Medellin, Cali and North Valley organizations.

Perez remains at large in Colombia. If arrested, extradited to the U.S. and convicted, Perez could face life behind bars.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)