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Mexican cartel drug trafficker sentenced to 11-year prison term in San Diego

April 9, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Mexican cartel drug trafficker sentenced to 11-year prison term in San Diego

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On Friday, a cartel-linked Mexican drug trafficker was sentenced to over 11 years behind bars for his participation in a criminal smuggling organization responsible for trafficking heroin, cocaine, and meth into San Diego.

Jesus Manuel Salazar-Nunez, a former lieutenant for a drug cartel in Mexico entered a guilty plea in August on the day he was set to go to trial in the case. He pleaded guilty to conspiring to smuggle illegal narcotics into the U.S.

While issuing the 135-month sentence to the 35-year-old defendant, U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw said that Salazar-Nunez used his education and professional accomplishments as a college-educated businessman to help smuggle hundreds of kilos of drugs month after month across the U.S.-Mexico border.

“You are not an ordinary defendant… you need to recognize how wrong (your conduct) was,” Sabraw said to the native of Culiacan, Sinaloa.

In his plea deal, Salazar-Nunez confessed to arranging four tractor-trailer shipments of drugs. All of the big rigs were confiscated in Mexico in 2015, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

That same year, U.S. DEA agents intercepted the communications of Salazar-Nunez and other high-level cartel associates who were organizing cargo trucks to travel from Sinaloa, Mexico, to Baja California, with drugs concealed among canned food and drinks, frozen shrimp, vegetables, and other household items.

Once the trucks arrived at a warehouse in Tijuana, the drugs were unloaded, distributed to couriers and were brought into San Diego.

The purported drug trafficker reportedly recruited couriers, made arrangements with customers to use their transportation services, deposited proceeds into Mexican bank accounts and designed items to make it look like the tractor-trailers contained legitimate goods.

Agents apprehended Salazar-Nunez in September 2015, when he arrived at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport from Guadalajara.

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