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Drug Boss Gets 30 Years

SAN DIEGO (CN) - A capo in the Sanchez-Arellano drug cartel was sentenced Monday to 30 years in federal prison.

Armando Villareal Heredia pleaded guilty in September to RICO conspiracy and drug distribution conspiracy.

Villareal, 35, of Tijuana, admitted the conspiracy included bribing public officials to get cartel members out of prison, assaults on police who tried to arrest cartel members, and bribing public officials for confidential law enforcement information.

U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy called the sentence "a major blow to the Fernando Sanchez Arellano organization," a statement cartel-watchers may be permitted to doubt.

Years of ruthless mass murders, of cartel members, street-level dealers, public employees and bystanders have not curbed the power of the cartels, and the Mexican government's unleashing of its army has served in great part only to get another armed group into the battle for drugs.

Villareal was arrested in Sonora in July 2011 and extradited to the United States in May 2012. He was the lead defendant of 43, 40 of whom pleaded guilty, the U.S. Attorney's office said. Two defendants are fugitives.

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