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US court sentences Mexican drug lord to 25 years

South Africa,Crime/Disaster/Accident,Immigration/Law/Rights, Tue, 03 Apr 2012 IANS

San Diego, April 3 (IANS/EFE) Mexican drug kingpin Benjamin Arellano Felix was sentenced Monday to 25 years in prison by a federal court in San Diego after reaching a plea bargain with prosecutors.

 

By pleading guilty to charges of racketeering and conspiracy to launder money, the 58-year-old Arellano Felix avoided a sentence that could have mounted as high as 140 years in jail.

 

US District Judge Larry Burns rejected the plea of Arellano Felix's attorneys to discount from his sentence the nine years he spent behind bars in Mexico before being extradited to the US last year.

 

"If I had it within my power, I would impose a longer sentence," the judge told Arellano Felix at Monday's hearing.

 

Jesus Labra Aviles, another cartel kingpin, was sentenced in San Diego to 40 years in prison in 2010.

 

Besides having to do time, Benjamin Arellano Felix's sentence obliges him to forfeit assets worth close to $100 million.

 

--IANS/EFE

 

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