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San Diego Teen Convicted Of Being Cartel Assassin In Mexico

MIACATLAN, Mexico (AP) - A Mexican judge has sentenced a 14-year-old U.S. citizen to three years in prison for organized crime, homicide, kidnapping, and drug and weapons possession.

Morelos state prosecutor Jose Manuel Serrano Falmerol says a judge on Tuesday gave Edgar Jimenez Lugo the maximum sentenced allowed for a minor in the state.

Authorities say the teenager confessed to working for the Beltran Leyva brothers' cartel and to killing four people whose beheaded bodies were hung from a bridge in the tourist town of Cuernavaca.

Jimenez, also known as "El Ponchis", was born in San Diego, California. He and a sister were arrested in December as they tried to board a plane to Tijuana. Authorities say they planned to cross the border and reunite with their mother in San Diego.

"El Ponchis" was born in San Diego, but was raised by his grandmother in Mexico. He and his older sister were arrested in December 2010 as they tried to board a plane to Tijuana, en route to San Diego, where they planned to reunite with their mother.

According to the Children's Rights Network, there are an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 teenagers linked to drug cartel crimes in Mexico.

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