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updated: 8/2/2011 5:39 PM

Mexican drug cartel distribution ring head jailed

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Associated Press

A man said by federal prosecutors to have headed a distribution network in the Chicago area for a Mexican drug-trafficking cartel has been sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Jose Gonzalez-Zavala pleaded guilty earlier this year to orchestrating the distribution of more than 420 kilograms of cocaine and collecting more than $5.7 million in drug proceeds.

Prosecutors claimed Gonzalez-Zavala directed the local distribution operations of a drug-trafficking cartel known as La Familia Michoacana from December 2008 until he was arrested in June 2009.

In imposing the sentence Tuesday, U.S. District Judge William J. Hibbler noted the impact the 38-year-old Gonzalez-Zavala's activities had on the community and the role he played in cocaine distribution.

Prosecutors say Gonzalez-Zavala was one of about 20 people charged in the case. Fifteen have pleaded guilty.