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Local News in Brief : 4 Admit Smuggling Hashish Into U.S.

Four Southland men pleaded guilty Tuesday to smuggling $10 million worth of hashish into the United States, but jurors must still consider a dispute over the weight of the shipment, which could determine the prison sentences for the drug traffickers.

The jury will decide if the hashish weighed 2,200 pounds or 2,400 pounds.

Assistant U.S. Atty. Janet Hudson said the difference in the figures centers on how much was added to the shipment’s weight when factoring in the weight of the packages and wrappings around the hashish.

If the hashish weighs 2,200 pounds, the men could face up to 40 years in prison. They face life in prison if it weighs 2,400 pounds.

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Pleading guilty in Los Angeles federal court to one count each of possession of hashish for sale were Jeffrey Ray Rankin, 41, of Lake Elsinore; Arthur Garcia Cuesta, 41, of Dana Point; Vance H. Link, 34, of Riverside, and Gene Heitland Fisher, 44, of Laguna Beach.


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