Regional
10:40 am
Thu March 11, 2010

Pair With Cartel Ties Convicted In Drug Case

El Paso – A federal jury has convicted two men federal prosecutors say have ties to Mexico's Sinaloa drug cartel on charges of conspiracy to smuggle marijuana into the U.S.

Fernando Ontiveros Arumbula, 40, was convicted in El Paso federal court Wednesday of conspiracy to distribute and import more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana. He was also convicted of possession with intent to distribute more than 100 kilograms.

Manuel Chavez Betancourt, 19, faced the same charges, but was only convicted on conspiracy to distribute and was acquitted of the rest.

Prosecutors say witnesses testified Ontiveros was a high level lieutenant in the cartel that is fighting the Juarez cartel for control of drug routes in the Mexican city across from El Paso. Chavez was described as a low level member.

Both are set for sentencing in June.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.