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Senior Arellano Felix Cartel Partner Pleads Guilty

Audio

Aired 10/16/09

A senior partner of Tijuana's Arellano Felix Drug Cartel has accepted a plea deal with the U.S. government in federal court in San Diego. The man says he helped traffic hundreds of tons of drugs to the United States.

A senior partner of Tijuana's Arellano Felix Drug Cartel has accepted a plea deal with the U.S. government in federal court in San Diego. The man says he helped traffic hundreds of tons of drugs to the United States.

Jesus Labra Aviles admitted that for two decades prior to his arrest in Tijuana nine years ago he conspired with the cartel's supposed former leader, Benjamin Arellano Felix, to help distribute hundreds of tons of cocaine and marijuana.

Labra says they sneaked the drugs across the U.S. Mexico border into San Diego, Imperial County and beyond.

He also says he helped the cartel pay millions of dollars in bribes to Mexican government and military officials.

Guadalpue Valencia is Labra's attorney.

He says Labra thought accepting the plea was in his best interest. "I think there's a combination of factors. You know, I don't know exactly what did it, but I think for him, he thought it was the right decision."

Valencia says Labra did not agree to cooperate with investigators.

Labra's sentencing is scheduled for January. He faces up to 43 years in prison. He is 62 years old.

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