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Top cartel operator Manuel Fernandez-Valencia sentenced to 27 years in Chicago Federal Court

December 2, 2016  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Top cartel operator Manuel Fernandez-Valencia sentenced to 27 years in Chicago Federal Court

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A Chicago federal judge sentenced a Mexican national, accused of being a top drug trafficker for the Sinaloa and Beltran-Leyva cartels, to 27 years in prison.

Federal District Court Judge Ronald Guzman sentenced 48-year-old Manuel Fernandez-Valencia on Wednesday, Zachary T. Fardon, the U.S. District Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois said in a statement.

Fernandez-Valencia was charged in a 2010 drug trafficking indictment along with 20 other co-conspirators. Feds say he worked closely with Mexican drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman and met the Sinaloa cartel leader on five occasions.

The high-ranking narcotics smuggler who oversaw a massive drug trafficking operation with distribution centers in Chicago and Los Angeles pleaded guilty last year to conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute controlled substances, The Chicago Sun-Times reported.

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Manuel Fernandez-Valencia after his 2010 arrest

Mexican authorities arrested Fernandez-Valencia in 2010.

As part of his plea deal, Fernandez-Valencia admitted to running a cocaine pipeline along with Pedro and Margarito Flores, the Chicago area twins who oversaw a major drug distribution network for the Sinaloa Cartel.

The Flores brothers agreed to become cooperating informants and each received 14-year prison sentences after pleading guilty in 2012.

The conspiracy involved using the resources of the Beltran-Leyva Organization and Sinaloa Cartel to smuggle vast amounts of narcotics into the U.S. using planes, ships, submarines and other the means of transportation.

Upon entering the U.S., drug shipments initially were stored in a Southern California safe house before being transported to various parts of the United States, including the Chicago area.

“The defendant operated at the highest level, within international organizations large and violent traffickers,” Erika Csicsila, the assistant U.S. Attorney, said in the sentencing memorandum.

 

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