Cartel Henchman Gets 22 Years for Drug-Smuggling Scheme

He plotted to bring cocaine from Mexico by train
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 25, 2014 12:19 AM CST
Updated Nov 25, 2014 4:05 AM CST
Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, the head of Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel, is escorted to a helicopter in Mexico City following his capture earlier this year.   (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo, File)
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(Newser) – A man prosecutors say was a top member of Mexico's Sinaloa cartel was sentenced to 22 years yesterday after what the Chicago Tribune reports has been called the most significant drug prosecution in the city's history. Alfredo Vasquez-Hernandez, allegedly the cartel's logistics chief and a lieutenant of captured drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, pleaded guilty earlier this year to involvement in a $1 billion plot to smuggle 600 pounds of cocaine from Mexico to Chicago by train.

"I tell you and I tell you on behalf of all Chicagoans … we are tired, tired of drug trafficking, and it continues to hurt this city and this country," a federal judge said as he handed down the sentence. The 59-year-old's lawyer, however, argued that his client was merely a body shop worker who got caught up in a single drug deal, adding that two cartel members who became DEA informants had exaggerated his role in the deal, the AP reports.

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