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American pilot for Juarez drug cartel gets 14 years in prison

By David Amoruso

Anthony Harrison Bell used to be free as a bird. Or, as they call a bird in Spanish, free as a “pajaro.” So free in fact that he used his skills as a pilot to smuggle cocaine and marijuana for the drug cartel led by Jose Paz Garcia. But it didn’t last, the bird has been caged, sentenced to 14 years in prison.

It will be a tough time for Bell. At 58 years of age, he isn’t a spring chicken anymore. Still, his crimes and story will earn him plenty of respect inside prison walls. From approximately June 1994 through early August 1995, Bell worked for drug boss Jose Paz Garcia, whose organization was linked to the organization then led by Amado Carrillo Fuentes, which later became known as the Juarez Cartel.

Garcia used Bell to fly quantities of marijuana and cocaine, for distribution and sale to others throughout the United States., from El Paso, Texas, to Dallas. Bell would also transport drug proceeds, derived from Garcia from the sale of the marijuana and cocaine, from Dallas to Garcia and his associates in El Paso.

Bell, a former Dallas resident, was busted in 1995 and admitted to his role in the drug conspiracy. He pleaded guilty in October of 1995 to one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute and distribution of marijuana and cocaine. His plea deal would amount to 5 years behind bars.

His boss, Garcia, along with several of his underlings, opted to take the case to trial instead. With one of their own testifying against them, they didn’t fare well. Garcia was convicted at trial in the Northern District of Texas in May 1996 and sentenced to life in federal prison.

By then Bell was nowhere to be seen. He had fled and gone on the lam. The next 17 years, he remained a fugitive, evading his 5-year prison sentence. Until his time had run out and the law caught up with him in Florida in 2013.

Standing in a courtroom once more, on February 1, 2017, the law was a lot less lenient for “Bird” this time and upped his sentence to 14 years.

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