Minn. man convicted of drug smuggling gets 21 yrs

Published 11:14 am Tuesday, November 27, 2012

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A St. Paul man who pleaded guilty to helping coordinate an extensive drug-smuggling operation has been sentenced to 21 years in federal prison.

Jesus Mendoza pleaded guilty last year to charges of conspiring to distribute drugs and aiding money laundering.

Prosecutors say the 45-year-old arranged for cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana to be driven or flown to Minnesota from as far away as California. The U.S. Attorney’s office says some of the proceeds were used to buy cars, property and an airplane.

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A message left with Mendoza’s defense attorney Tuesday was not immediately returned.

A St. Paul Pioneer Press report (http://bit.ly/UZinPD ) says nine other people have pleaded guilty to charges stemming to the drug operation, including Mendoza’s wife.