Former El Paso Official Sentenced In Drug Case

Nov 15, 2012

A disgraced former West Texas elected official has been sentenced to 6½ years in prison for drug trafficking and money laundering.

A judge in El Paso sentenced former El Paso County commissioner Willie Gandara on Wednesday. U.S. District Judge Frank Montalvo also fined the 37-year-old politician $300,000 and forfeited more than $120,000 in property.

Gandara had been running for a seat in the Texas House when he was arrested in February. He pleaded guilty Aug. 17 to drug trafficking conspiracy and using a property for marijuana smuggling.

Prosecutors say men last October tried to smuggle 124 pounds of marijuana through a remote border checkpoint by hiding the drugs in Chicago-bound boxes of chili powder.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.