MEXICO CITY (AP) _ Mexico's former drug czar, accused last year of abetting the country's biggest cocaine trafficker, was sentenced Tuesday to more than 13 years in prison for abuse of authority and weapons violations.

It was the first sentence handed down against Gen. Jesus Gutierrez Rebollo, who was arrested in February 1997 and charged with being on the payroll of Mexico's top cocaine smuggler. Those charges are still pending.

Judge Armando Baez Espinoza sentenced Gutierrez Rebollo to 13 years, nine months and three days in prison, according to Jose Manuel Alvarez, personal secretary to Deputy Attorney General Alfonso Navarrete Prida. Navarrete Prida is overseeing the prosecution of Gutierrez Rebollo.

The general is being held at the maximum-security Almoloya prison in Toluca, 35 miles west of Mexico City, where the sentence was handed down.

Gutierrez Rebollo, a well-regarded military commander of the Guadalajara area, had been in the military for 42 years when he was appointed drug czar.

The army became suspicious when he moved from a modest house to a luxurious apartment in the posh Bosque de las Lomas area of Mexico City. Prosecutors say the apartment was provided by Amado Carillo Fuentes, then Mexico's top drug smuggler.

Gutierrez Rebollo's arrest endangered Mexico's certification by the United States as an ally in the fight against drug smuggling in 1996, but the United States ended up certifying Mexico.

Mexico was certified again last week with relatively little controversy.