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Man gets 11 years in federal drug case

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VARELA: Also must forfeit his ABQ home

VARELA: Also must forfeit his ABQ home

Kilos of cocaine, meth and pot moved

Homero Varela, a 30-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen born in Mexico, was sentenced Tuesday to more than 11 years in federal prison for conspiracy, drug-trafficking and money-laundering.

Federal investigators said he was moving multi-kilo quantities of cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine, and working with the deadly Mexican Sinaloa cartel.

Besides the 135 months in prison, he agreed to forfeit his Albuquerque home at 2510 Garner Road SW. He also was ordered to pay a $150,000 judgment, representing the net profit derived from the drug dealing.

The Drug Enforcement Administration intercepted telephone calls between Varela and one of his co-defendants in which they discussed transferring 40 weapons as payment for a drug debt, including AK-47 assault rifles and Uzi submachine guns, one of them with a silencer, according to court documents.

Documents in the case also claimed the trafficking organization had moved more than $15 million in drugs.

Varela was arrested in January 2012 on a 29-count federal indictment charging him and others in the conspiracy that operated between May 2011 and January 2012. He entered the guilty plea a year later.

In entering his plea, Varela admitted using cellphones that he disposed of monthly. Many of the conversations were intercepted by the DEA using a court-authorized wiretap.

In an interview with IRS agents before his arrest, he told them his only source of income was horse racing and a rental property and that he had not received cash from the racing. Tax records for 2011 showed he had earned about $53,000 from horse racing.

Varela admitted facilitating the distribution of 244 kilograms of marijuana and 26 kilograms of cocaine in early November 2011. The marijuana and cocaine were seized when law enforcement arrested co-defendant Ramon Gonzales Sr. as he was transporting the drugs.

On July 22, 2011, law enforcement seized $112,270 from individuals who were taking drug proceeds from Varela’s drug-trafficking activities to Mexico, according to his admissions.

Seven of Varela’s co-defendants have entered guilty pleas. Another six co-defendants are pending trial. Co-defendant Manuel Villa-Mayorquin is considered a fugitive.

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