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Associated Press , Published March 26 2013

Suspect in area meth conspiracy gets 27 years in prison

FARGO — The last of three family members from California convicted of supplying methamphetamine to buyers in North Dakota and Minnesota has been sentenced to 27 years in federal prison.

Henry Paredez Jr., 34, of Bakersfield, Calif., also was ordered to forfeit $25,000 in cash during the Monday sentencing in U.S. District Court in Fargo.

Paredez, his wife, Ariana Paredez, 23, and father, Henry Paredez Sr., 66, were charged in an investigation that federal prosecutors dubbed “Operation Price is Right.” The drug ring moved about 6 pounds of meth from the Bakersfield and Minneapolis-St. Paul areas into the Fargo-Moorhead area in 2010, Assistant U.S. Attorney Lynn Jordheim said.

Henry Paredez, who authorities say was known by the nickname Dirty, was alleged to be the supervisor of the operation, which moved the drugs through various packing and shipping companies. He pleaded guilty last August to distributing a controlled substance and money laundering.

When family members were arrested in May 2011 in Bakersfield, police seized drugs, handguns, assault rifles, vehicles and cash, according to documents from the Bakersfield Police Department.

Nine other defendants in the case were sentenced earlier, including the other two members of the Paredez family. Ariana Paredez got two years in prison and Henry Paredez Sr. nine months behind bars. The other defendants, from Fargo-Moorhead and Valley City, received prison sentences ranging from just under two years to 23 years.

“The stiff sentences sought by federal prosecutors in Operation Price is Right should be a warning to drug trafficking organizations about the risk of doing business in the Red River Valley” of eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota, Jordheim said in a statement.

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