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Millionaire St. Paul drug kingpin sentenced

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A 45-year-old St. Paul man has been sentenced to 21 years in prison for his role in running a widespread drug-trafficking operation that brought drugs to Minnesota between 2005 and October 2010, WCCO reports.

Prosecutors say Jesus “Jesse” Mendoza was arrested in December 2010 for overseeing an organization that moved methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana, which netted him a personal fortune. Law enforcement officials so far have seized $2 million in assets, including seven vehicles, two motorcycles, more than $817,000 in cash, almost $700,000 in jewelry and a home in the 1700 block of East Arlington Avenue in St. Paul, the Star Tribune reports.

Mendoza shipped drugs from the West Coast by car, commercial truck and private aircraft to the Midwest, the Pioneer Press reports.

"The Mendoza organization utilized private aircraft and commercial vehicles to smuggle cocaine and marijuana from California to Minnesota – Mr. Mendoza personally amassed millions of dollars running this criminal enterprise," local Drug Enforcement Administration agent Dan Moren said, KARE 11 reports.

Nine co-conspirators in the operation have pleaded guilty, and six of them have been sentenced.

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