SAN DIEGO (AP) — Federal officials say a U.S.-born drug cartel lieutenant who was arrested in Mexico and extradited to the United States has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.
U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy said Armando Villareal Heredia of the Fernando Sanchez-Arellano drug cartel received the sentence Monday, after pleading guilty in September to federal drug and racketeering charges.
Heredia was considered the lead defendant in a prosecution against 43 members of the cartel. Forty defendants have now pleaded guilty, admitting to murders, kidnappings, robberies, assaults, money laundering and drug trafficking.
Known as "El Gordo," Heredia was arrested by Mexican law enforcement in 2011, at the request of U.S. officials and was returned to the United States in 2012.
Duffy called the successful prosecution a "major blow to the Fernando Sanchez Arellano organization."
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