Man gets probation, jail for his role in family drug outfit

2013-06-26T00:00:00Z 2013-06-26T08:54:13Z Man gets probation, jail for his role in family drug outfitPatrick McNamara Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
June 26, 2013 12:00 am  • 

A man accused of running a marijuana-smuggling ring was sentenced in Pima County Superior Court on Tuesday to five years' intensive probation and 105 days in Pima County Jail, with credit for time already served.

Alejandro Ortiz Guerena pleaded guilty to attempted possession of marijuana for sale and conspiracy to commit money laundering in May. Along with several members of his family, Guerena was originally accused of more than 20 crimes in a March 2012 indictment.

Guerena was arrested in Hermosillo, Sonora, in January and later turned over to the Pima County Sheriff's Department.

Police accused Guerena and his family of importing and selling more than 10,000 pounds of marijuana from 2005 to 2011, with sales of nearly $5 million.

Also charged in the case were Guerena's wife, Pauline Guerena, father-in-law, Jose Celaya, and sister-in-law, Denise Ruiz.

Pauline Guerena pleaded guilty to attempted money laundering and is scheduled for sentencing July 1.

Ruiz pleaded guilty to facilitation of possession of marijuana for sale and is scheduled for sentencing July 22.

A pretrial conference is scheduled for Celaya on July 11.

Alejandro Guerena's brother, Gerardo Guerena, also was named in the indictment but remains at large.

The Guerena family was the focus of a long-term drug trafficking investigation by the Pima County Sheriff's Department.

It first captured the public's attention in May 2011, when a sheriff's SWAT team raided Jose Guerena's home near West Valencia and South Wade roads on the far southwest side, shooting and killing him.

An investigation into the incident exonerated the SWAT team members involved.

Contact reporter Patrick McNamara at 573-4241 or pmcnamara@azstarnet.com

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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