Drug associate of ex-Texas official gets prison

September 27, 2012 6:03:45 AM PDT
A drug smuggling associate of a disgraced former West Texas elected official has been sentenced to six months in prison.

A federal judge in El Paso sentenced Juan Canales. Canales in July pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess a controlled substance with intent to distribute.

Prosecutors say Canales was a lookout driver for former El Paso County Commissioner Guillermo "Willie" Gandara Jr.

Gandara on Aug. 17 pleaded guilty to drug trafficking conspiracy and using a property for marijuana manufacturing. He faces up to 40 years in prison.

Prosecutors say the 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.

Canales, who apologized in court Tuesday, remains free on bond but must surrender next week.