- Associated Press - Thursday, April 9, 2015

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - Federal authorities say a man with ties to the Zetas drug cartel has pleaded guilty to charges that he helped smuggle thousands of kilograms of cocaine across the Texas-Mexico border.

Esiquiel “Cheke” Rodriguez pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance.

The U.S. attorney’s office in San Antonio says in a statement that Rodriguez helped bring in at least 6,000 kilograms of cocaine annually between 2007 and 2009, as part of an operation that returned millions of dollars in drug money to Mexico.

He faces up to 35 years in prison when he’s sentenced on July 24.

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