SAN DIEGO — A Southern California man who sold airplanes to drug dealers in a money-laundering scheme has been sentenced to five years in federal prison.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that Vicente Contreras Amezquita was sentenced Wednesday by a judge in San Diego. He’d pleaded guilty to conspiracy.

Authorities say the Chula Vista airplane broker helped drug cartels launder $3.6 million over five years by selling them 35 small planes for exportation to Mexico.

In a plea deal, he acknowledged hiding the origins of the money, arranging to deposit the cash in dozens of bank accounts in several states before it finally was used to buy the planes.

A co-defendant who pleaded guilty awaits sentencing but Contreras’s wife and other alleged accomplices remain fugitives.

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