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Zetas' founder sentenced to 35 years

By the CNN Wire Staff
March 16, 2012 -- Updated 1815 GMT (0215 HKT)
Jaime Gonzalez Duran, seen here after his arrest in 2008, has been convicted of organized crime and kidnapping (file photo).
Jaime Gonzalez Duran, seen here after his arrest in 2008, has been convicted of organized crime and kidnapping (file photo).
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Jaime Gonzalez Duran was one of the original Zetas
  • He was a bodyguard and hit man for the Gulf Cartel
  • It was the third sentence against him

(CNN) -- One of the founding members of Los Zetas, a ruthless Mexican drug cartel that began as a group of army deserters hired by a drug lord, has been sentenced to 35 years in prison, the federal attorney general's office said.

Jaime Gonzalez Duran was in the upper echelons of the Zetas leadership and is one of the biggest captures authorities have made against that group.

A judge in Tamaulipas state convicted Gonzalez of organized crime and kidnapping and handed down the sentence, which includes a fine equivalent to 2,251 days of minimum wage, the attorney general's office said.

It is the third sentence against Gonzalez. In 2010, two other courts sent him to prison for 21 and 16 years.

Federal police arrested Gonzalez in November 2008 in Reynosa, Tamaulipas. He had in his possession $150,000 and a military-grade weapon, the attorney general's office said.

Before his arrest, he was a bodyguard and hit man for the leader of the Gulf cartel, the office said. The Zetas have since split off from the Gulf cartel and operate as their own cartel.

Three others were sentenced alongside Gonzalez, prosecutors said Thursday.

Benito Pena Gutierrez and Anselmo Rivera Alonso, both former police officers in the town of Guadalupe in the state of Nuevo Leon, were sentenced to 25 years for the kidnappings of four federal agents in 2007.

Another cartel member, Javier Paez Arredondo, was sentenced to 10 years for participating in organized crime.

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