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Mexican Drug Dealer Sentenced

August 12, 2000

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ The one-time godfather of Mexican drug trafficking, Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo has received a second 40-year prison sentence for drug smuggling,bribery, and weapons offenses.

Felix Gallardo, known as El Padrino, or The Godfather, was already serving a 40-year sentence for his involvement in the 1985 murder of U.S. federal drug agent Enrique Camarena and for drug offenses.

The newspaper Reforma reported Friday that Judge Manuel Barcena said Felix Gallardo’s convictions, if served back to back, would have led to a 69-year sentence, but that 40 years was the maximum allowed by law.

In a news release Thursday, the attorney general’s office said that a Mexico City court had sentenced Felix Gallardo for possessing and smuggling cocaine, bribery and weapons violations.

U.S. officials in the late 1980s said Felix Gallardo was responsible for more than half the cocaine smuggled through Mexico.

Felix Gallardo’s latest sentence stems from Mexico’s 1985 seizure of a U.S.-registered airplane in which cocaine residues were found.

Investigators discovered that Felix Gallardo had created an air taxi service in Guadalajara and used it to smuggle drugs, according to the attorney general’s office.

Intense legal manuevering by Felix Gallardo’s attorneys had dragged the case out for more than a decade.

Felix Gallardo, a former police officer, rose to become the leader of the Guadalajara cartel and pioneered using Mexico as a route for Colombian cocaine headed for the United States.

Officials estimated he was worth $500 million, much of it invested in apparently legitimate businesses.

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