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Border & Immigration

Judge Sentences Arellano Felix Higher-up to 30 Years

Judge Sentences Arellano Felix Higher-up to 30 Years

A federal judge in San Diego has sentenced a high ranking member of Tijuana's Arellano Felix Drug Cartel to 30 years in prison. He's the last of the group of men U.S. authorities caught on a fishing boat off Baja California about a year and a half ago. KPBS reporter Amy Isackson has the story.

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Manuel Arturo Villareal walked into the courtroom with a smile on his face.

His lawyer, Paul Blake, said of anyone he's defended in 26 years, Villareal faces the consequences of what he's done in the most positive light.

In addition to racketeering, drug trafficking and money laundering, federal court documents tie Villareal to some of Tijuana's most heinous, headline making crimes of late.

Among them, the beheading of three policeman and one civilian and the murder of a crusading Tijuana journalist in front of the man's young children.

Judge Larry Burns told Villareal he presents quite a contrast, that the gentlemen Villareal has been does not jibe with the brutal rap sheet.

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Even so, Burns said if it was up to him, Villareal would not see daylight again. However, Burns was bound by Villareal's plea to 30 years and forfeiture of $5 million dollars.

Amy Isackson, KPBS News.

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