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Customs agent guilty of conspiracy to smuggle drugs

December 14, 2018

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A federal customs officer who once worked at Los Angeles International Airport and his ex-wife have been convicted of taking part in a drug ring that moved cocaine, heroin and marijuana by truck from L.A. to Chicago.

Fontana residents Manual Salas and Sayda Orellana were found guilty Thursday of conspiracy to distribute drugs and launder money, and of making false statements to law enforcement. Orellana also was convicted of money laundering.

Salas is a 25-year veteran of U.S. Customs and Border Protection who’s been suspended. Prosecutors say he and Orellana used a commercial truck driver to move hundreds of pounds of drugs to Illinois. They also laundered hundreds of thousands of dollars in narcotics money through various bank accounts.

The two face at least 10 years each in federal prison.

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