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Senior Mexican drug cartel member jailed for 35 years

Members of the Federal Police escort three sacks of marijuana seized from a Mexican drug cartel on December 05, 2011
Members of the Federal Police escort three sacks of marijuana seized from a Mexican drug cartel on December 05, 2011. A high-ranking Mexican drug cartel chief was jailed for 35 years on Monday for plotting to smuggle vast quantities of cocaine and marijua

A high-ranking Mexican drug cartel chief was jailed for 35 years on Monday for plotting to smuggle vast quantities of cocaine and marijuana into the United States, justice officials said.

Aurelio Cano Flores, described by the Justice Department as a senior member of the Gulf Cartel, was convicted of conspiring to import "multi-ton" shipments of drugs into the US following a trial in February.

The 40-year-old was also ordered to forfeit a staggering $15 billion in drug proceeds as part of a financial judgment.

The Justice Department said in a statement the Gulf Cartel was believed to have distributed 1.4 million kilograms of cocaine and 8,000 metric tons of marijuana between 2000 and 2010.

"For over a decade, Aurelio Cano Flores worked with some of the most dangerous criminals in the world to import massive quantities of cocaine and marijuana into the United States," said federal prosecutor Mythili Raman.

"As a leader of the Gulf Cartel, one of the most notorious criminal enterprises in Mexico or the United States, he endangered the lives of innocent people on both sides of the border," Raman added.

At his trial in February, Cano Flores was found guilty of conspiracy to traffic five kilos of cocaine and 1,000 kilos or more of marijuana.

According to evidence at his trial, Cano Flores began working for the Gulf Cartel while serving as a police officer in Mexico.

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