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Drug convictions land man in prison for 30 years

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — An Albuquerque man was sentenced Thursday in federal court to 30 years in prison after being convicted of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine charges in two separate trials.

Gaspar Leal, 49, was convicted Dec. 6, 2017, on a conspiracy charge related to the distribution of 50 grams or more of methamphetamine during an incident in June 2016.

Two co-defendants pleaded guilty in the case. Candace Tapia, 24, of Albuquerque, received an 18-month prison sentence for distribution of methamphetamine, and Bernadette Aurora Tapia, 51, of Albuquerque, received a 21-month sentence for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

On July 23, 2019, a jury found Leal guilty of a conspiracy charge related to the distribution of 50 grams or more of methamphetamine during incidents in July and August 2016 in Bernalillo County.

Investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives used an informant who initiated contact with Leal, then employed as a barber, by posing as a customer wanting a haircut, prosecutors said. The evidence showed Leal arranged drug deals by phone while in jail, according to a release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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