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Guns-for-drugs ringleader sentenced to 15 years

A California man was sentenced to more than 15-1/2 years Tuesday for his role in arranging to send about 2.2 pounds of cocaine to Southern Oregon in exchange for a cache of weapons during a sting operation with federal agents.

Gonzalo Manzo Jr., of Fresno, California, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Eugene for his role in orchestrating drivers to the Medford area to deliver a kilogram of cocaine.

Manzo reportedly sent the cocaine to Southern Oregon after arranging a deal with buyers who were undercover agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The cocaine was to be sold for $21,000 plus a cache of weapons that included six Colt .38 Super pistols, two Beretta 9 mm pistols with silencers, a Glock 9 mm machine pistol and $21,000, according to a release issued Tuesday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken sentenced Manzo to 188 months in prison, the sentence federal prosecutors had sought.

Court documents show that the U.S. Attorney’s Office argued for the sentence based on previous California drug convictions for Manzo from 2008 and 2013, which “have not deterred his criminal conduct,” and because he’s “no stranger to what appear to be firearms, as seen in these screenshots from a 2015 YouTube music video.”

Screen shots filed in court documents appear to be from Fresno rapper West X’s song “I Got the Plug,” in which Manzo could be seen handling a handgun with a lighted sight, pointing the weapon at the camera and dancing behind the rapper.

Two co-defendants in the case have pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court, Rodolfo Quevedo Jr. and Jonathan Alan Ochoa. Court filings show that Quevedo will be sentenced in February, but no sentencing hearing has yet been scheduled for Ochoa.

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