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'Speed Racer' leader gets 40 years

FARGO - Jorge "Sneaky" Arandas, the leader of a sprawling drugs-and-murder ring authorities dubbed "Operation Speed Racer," was sentenced Friday to 40 years in prison for importing drugs to the Red River Valley.

Arandas, who was charged with 13 counts, faced the possibility of a life sentence for crimes that included authorizing the murder of a drug dealer in East Grand Forks, Minn., who owed the ring money.

Arandas, a native of Washington state, was a pivotal figure who was the link to a major Mexican drug cartel, in a ring that funneled drugs from south of the border and the West Coast to the Red River Valley, according to federal prosecutors.

His defense lawyer said Arandas was willing to accept responsibility for his actions, and prosecutors told U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson that Arandas' cooperation had helped bring charges against two other drug suppliers.