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Texas man pleads guilty to cocaine ring in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS (AP) _ A 56-year-old Texas man pleaded guilty to being part of a group that distributed more than 450 kilograms (992.07 pounds) of cocaine in the St. Louis area over four years.

Jose Alfredo Velazquez pleaded Wednesday to a federal cocaine distribution charge.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports Velazquez coordinated the shipment of drugs from Mexico and also shipped cash back to Texas and Mexico.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Erin Granger said Velazquez supplied Adrian Lemons, who distributed the drugs to other dealers and drug trafficking organizations.

Velazquez is among 34 people charged after the investigation, including Lemons, who has pleaded not guilty.

Law enforcement officials told the Post-Dispatch in 2016 the group was believed to be responsible for up to 17 homicides in the St. Louis area in past five years.

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com