The State : Drug Kingpin Tells Regrets

An El Cajon man who admittedly made several million dollars as a kingpin of a methamphetamine manufacturing and distribution ring urged anyone involved with drugs to get out immediately. "Look what happened to me," Manuel Battaglia, 46, said shortly after a judge sentenced him to 20 years in prison for maintaining a criminal enterprise and defrauding the federal government by not reporting his illicit profits. Battaglia already had admitted his involvement in the huge operation, said to be one of the nation's largest. When authorities broke the ring in April, 1985, they seized $1.5-million worth of the illegal stimulant, weapons and sophisticated surveillance equipment. Battaglia also had agreed to accept a 15-year prison term for the criminal enterprise charge, which carries a maximum life sentence, and a five-year term for the tax charge under a plea agreement with prosecutors, leaving only the question of whether the terms would be served consecutively.

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