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LOCAL : 3 Plead Guilty in ‘No Dope’ Case

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Two members of a San Fernando Valley drug ring have pleaded guilty to narcotics charges, although the evidence against them did not include any drugs, officials said this morning.

As part of a plea-bargain agreement, Arturo Jorge Aguilera, 35, of Tarzana and Galo P. Iturralde, 28, of Granada Hills pleaded guilty Monday to one count of conspiracy to transport cocaine, said Andy Reynolds, spokesman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

A third member of the ring, Haripal Singh Sagoo, 24, of Granada Hills pleaded guilty to a felony money laundering charge. The three will be sentenced June 12.

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Last year Burbank police and federal agents linked the men to a narcotics transaction involving a 332-pound shipment of cocaine valued at $2 million. When the suspects were arrested in June at the end of a three-month investigation, however, only slight traces of the drug were found in packing materials. Authorities seized about $1.7 million in cash and ledgers they said documented drug transactions.

Authorities said the case was believed to be the first successful “no dope” drug conspiracy prosecution undertaken by the district attorney’s office. The prosecution’s case primarily relied on evidence of informants and the ledgers.

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