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Grandmother gets 4-year sentence in drug case

A grandmother was sentenced in Fargo's federal court Friday to four years in prison for her role in a drug-trafficking ring. Eva Rivera Gonzalez, 58, Carrizo Springs, Texas, was one of 13 people charged last year with being part of a ring that di...

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A grandmother was sentenced in Fargo's federal court Friday to four years in prison for her role in a drug-trafficking ring.

Eva Rivera Gonzalez, 58, Carrizo Springs, Texas, was one of 13 people charged last year with being part of a ring that distributed more than 70 pounds of methamphetamine.

The group shipped meth, cocaine, heroin and marijuana from California and distributed the drugs in the Fargo-Moorhead area, the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in north-central North Dakota and in Duluth, Minn., the indictment says.

Gonzalez pleaded guilty June 8 to wiring money for the purpose of drug trafficking. Prosecutors agreed to drop six other charges, including drug conspiracy, in exchange for her plea and cooperation with investigators.

During the sentencing hearing Friday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Myers said Gonzalez helped transfer 15 pounds of meth from California to North Dakota in August 2001.

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Myers said she also served as an interpreter for Alejandrino Guerrero, a Fresno, Calif., man who is named in the indictment as the ring's "leader and organizer."

Gonzalez's son, Ruben Hernandez of Moorhead, controlled the group's drug distribution in the Fargo-Moorhead area, the indictment says.

"She was sucked into this criminal conspiracy by her son," U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Erickson said during Gonzalez's sentencing Friday.

"Frankly, I think it says more about Mr. Hernandez than it does about Ms. Gonzalez," the judge said. "It's unthinkable."

Gonzalez participated in the hearing with the help of an interpreter, but offered a brief statement in English before Erickson sentenced her.

"I'm sorry for the mistake that I made," she said. "I regret it and am sorry."

On June 1, Hernandez, 38, pleaded guilty in Fargo's federal court to taking part in the drug conspiracy, a charge that carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

He has two prior felony drug convictions, one in North Dakota and another in Minnesota, court records show.

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Gonzalez, Hernandez, Guerrero and nine other defendants in the federal drug case have pleaded guilty as part of agreements with the government.

The remaining defendant, Antonio Jose Alonzo, has pleaded not guilty.

Alonzo, 42, of Glyndon, Minn., is charged with conspiring to possess and sell drugs. His trial is set to begin in Fargo's federal court on Monday.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Jeff Zent at (701) 241-5526

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