Chicago judge sentences Mexican drug trafficker linked to ElChapo to 27 years in prison

WASHINGTON, Dec. 2: A judge in Chicago sentenced an admitted drug trafficker linked to notorious drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to nearly 30 years in federal prison Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Ronald A. Guzman handed down the sentence to Manuel Fernandez-Valencia, who was responsible for importing large amounts of cocaine into the United States.

 Fernandez-Valencia was involved in the operations of two Mexican drug-running groups, authorities said — the Sinaloa Cartel and the the Beltran-Leyva Organization.

Fernandez-Valencia trafficked sizable levels of cocaine into the United States on the West Coast and distributed it to various U.S. destinations, particularly Chicago, via private airplanes, submarines, container ships, fishing vessels, buses, tractor-trailers and automobiles.

“The defendant was operating at the very highest levels of large and violent international drug trafficking organizations,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Erika Csicsila said in the government’s sentencing memorandum. “The damage that those drugs, and the violence resulting from the drug trade, have caused to communities in Chicago and elsewhere is immeasurable.”

Fernandez-Valencia, 48, pleaded guilty last year to one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute.

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