POSTED: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 - 11:52pm
UPDATED: Friday, November 16, 2012 - 10:13am
Minutes before Willie Gandara Jr. was sentenced to six and a half years in prison for his drug trafficking and money laundering crimes, the 37 year old begged God and the state for forgiveness. He said he is sorry he let his constituents down and put his family through so much pain. Gandara's attorney, Joe Spencer, told the judge that his client was a broken and shameful man.
Judge Frank Montalvo had harsh words for Gandara. He told the convicted felon that he was a master of disguise, who led a double life. The Judge also compared Gandara to Pablo Escobar, a big time Columbian drug dealer who once made billions from shipping cocaine into the United States.
In addition to serving time in prison, Gandara was ordered to pay a $300,000 fine. Bailiffs immediately took Gandara into custody, while his wife, daughter, and other family members cried hysterically. A handcuffed Gandara turned around and told his family "I love you," as officers took him away.
Willie Gandara Jr. was a former Socorro mayor. He resigned his seat as County Commissioner when DEA agents arrested him on drug charges in February. At the center of the case against Gandara was his property on Coker Road. Agents discovered Gandara used that location as a virtual pipeline for shipping marijuana to as far away as Chicago.