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Tunnel Drug Smuggler Gets 14 Years

SAN DIEGO (CN) - A 26-year-old drug smuggler was sentenced Monday to 14 years in federal prison for conspiring to bring nearly 14 tons of marijuana into the United States through a tunnel near San Diego.

Victor Omar Valladares Real chose Thanksgiving Day 2010 to load a tractor-trailer with 27,600 lbs. of marijuana and drive it to Chula Vista with a cohort, 45-year-old Daniel Navarro Chavez, who was sentenced in November to 15 years and 8 months in prison.

A third defendant, Jose Hernandez, 56, drove the load north, where he was stopped at the Temecula checkpoint and busted. Hernandez pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

The U.S. Attorney's Office, which announced Valladares' sentencing in a statement, called it the Thanksgiving Day tunnel.

The 27,600-lb. load of marijuana would produce 883,200 dime bags of ½ oz. each - $44 million or more at street prices.

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