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Major Player in Mexican Cartel Sentenced to 40 Years in Federal Prison

There is now one less drug cartel member free, yet it is hardly enough to thwart the escalating violence in Mexico and neighboring border cities within the United States. According to a Google News piece, Jesus "Chuy" Labra helped to make the Arellano Felix family, one of the most powerful Mexican drug cartels.

Labra has now been sentenced to 40 years in federal prison after nearly a decade of legal wrangling. He received the maximum sentence at the prosecution’s request. Labra had sought a 25-year term, apologizing to U.S. District Judge Larry Burns for his actions.

Labra was originally arrested in Tijuana, Mexico in 2000 while watching his son’s soccer game. At that time, the cartel was near the height of its power and Labra was taken in on charges of dealing marijuana and cocaine. Much of the hold-up in the case was the fact that it took more than 8 years to secure extradition to the United States for his trial.

According to a 2003 indictment, Labra was instrumental in tapping extensive connections with Colombian cocaine traffickers and Mexican marijuana growers. He also regularly participated in the major decisions by the cartel.

Labra stood accused of smuggling marijuana across the border to the United States from as early as the 1970s. He later moved his expertise into cocaine when trafficking routes shifted from the Caribbean and Florida to ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Attorney’s for Labra claim he was subjected to extreme physical and psychologival abuse while in a Mexican prison. "We had thought he had served substantial time in custody in Mexico before extradition under onerous conditions and because he hadn't participated in any violence, we thought a (sentence) reduction was fair," they said. "The court wasn't of the same feeling."


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