PITTSBURGH A Texas
scrapyard owner has been sentenced to six and a half years in
prison after pleading guilty to charges of money laundering and
Willie Gandara Jr., an owner of
Socorro Iron & Metal Inc. and Gandaras Recycling in
Socorro, in August pleaded guilty in federal District Court in
Texas to one count each of conspiracy to possess with intent to
distribute 50 kilograms or more of marijuana and maintaining
property for the distribution of marijuana.
Gandarawho will also
forfeit his scrapyardlast week was sentenced to 78 months
in prison. He will get three years supervised release
upon its completion. He was facing up to 20 years in prison on
five criminal charges.
The judge also ordered Gandara
to pay a $300,000 fine and forfeit the cash and two vehicles
seized at his arrest.
Gandara, who had been a member
of the El Paso County Commission and sought a seat in the state
House of Representatives, was allegedly seen on video
offloading drugs at one of his yards. He was arrested in
amm.com, March 2).
"The public has the right to
expect their elected officials to conduct themselves according
to the highest ethical standards. Mr. Gandara violated the
publics trust on many levels and he is facing severe
consequences as a result," U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman said in