3rd member of drug rip-off crew pleads guilty

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Associated Press

Posted on March 29, 2012 at 7:24 AM

PHOENIX (AP) — A third member of a group that targeted drug smugglers in a remote area of Pinal County has pleaded guilty to federal charges.

The U.S. attorney's office in Phoenix says 22-year-old Juan Carlos Casas-Pacheco pleaded guilty to a charge related to using a firearm during a drug trafficking offense on Tuesday. The Mexican national faced from 5 years to life in prison for the crime, but a plea agreement calls for a 5 year term when he is sentenced in June.

Two other Mexican citizens previously pleaded guilty to the same charge. Thirty-six-year-old Octavio Rivera-Mendez and 23-year-old Luis Enriquez Lizarraga-Ayala will be sentenced next month.

The original indictment says the three men used a rifle and revolver while robbing drug couriers of marijuana in the Vekol Valley last November.

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