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Texas Politico Jailed on Drug Charges

(CN) - An El Paso County commissioner who is running for the state House was indicted on drug-trafficking and money-laundering charges, federal prosecutors said.

Guillermo "Willie" Gandara Jr., 37, of El Paso, was charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 50 kilograms or more of marijuana, and possession with intent to distribute marijuana, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement.

Charged with him was Juan Canales, 50, of San Elizario.

Gandara also was charged with three counts of maintaining property for the distribution of marijuana.

Gandara is county commissioner for El Paso's Precinct 3 and is seeking the Texas House District 75 seat, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Prosecutors claim the defendants have used Gandara's property in El Paso County to distribute the drugs since November 2010.

Canales was arrested Thursday morning and Gandara on Wednesday night in Sierra Blanca, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Gandara is the son of Willie Gandara Sr., the former mayor of Socorro, who was indicted in 2010 in a federal public corruption investigation, according to the Chronicle. Gandara Sr. was voted out of office last May.

Gandara Jr. was jailed without bond pending a detention hearing scheduled for Tuesday, El Paso Times reported.

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