A former Albuquerque firefighter accused of laundering money for the Sinaloa drug cartel has pleaded guilty.
Steve Chavez has pleaded guilty to a single count admitting he structured financial transactions to hide nearly $200,000 for the cartel by filtering it through several different bank accounts.
Chavez is one of 15 defendants originally charged with 29 crimes last year.
With the plea agreement he faces up to 2 1/2 years in prison, must pay $182,000 in restitution and will forfeit the funds in four of his bank accounts.
Chavez's attorney Jason Bowles says his client was a low-level member of the operation.
Bowles says Chavez has been working in the construction field since his arrest and has been saving money to pay the restitution.
Information from: KRQE-TV, http://www.krqe.com
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.