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Ex-Matamoros Gulf cartel manager gets 50-year prison term; lieutenant gets 35-year term


BROWNSVILLE, Texas — A federal judge has sentenced two former managers in Mexico's Gulf cartel to long prison sentences for their roles in drug and weapons smuggling along the South Texas border with Mexico.

Jose Luis Zuniga Hernandez, also known as "Commandante Wicho," drew a 50-year prison sentence Tuesday for conspiring to import cocaine and marijuana between 2002 and 2013. His brother, Armando Arizmendi Hernandez, also known as "Commandante Mando," was sentenced to 35 years in prison for his guilty plea to the same charge.

Zuniga Hernandez, who's 47, commanded cartel operations in Matamoros and El Control, both across the Rio Grande from Brownsville, Texas. Arizmendi Hernandez, who's 37, was his brother's second-in-command.

In October 2011, both fled into the United States after a power struggle led to a gun battle.

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