A staff sergeant in the Arizona National Guard who was collared in a drug bust at the Peabody Holiday Inn 1-1/2 years ago is now headed to state prison for three years for trafficking cocaine.
Gerardo Flores, 29, of Tucson, Ariz., was caught along with a New Mexico man and a Canadian man by local and state police and drug enforcement agents at the Route 1 hotel in December 2011 with more than $1 million in cocaine (11 kilos or 25 pounds) in their possession.
A joint investigation was established after Canadian authorities learned that Jason Grilli, 28, of Quebec was en route to the hotel to pick up the cocaine.
The Salem News reports that Flores admitted his role in the drug deal as a "bag man" to help move the cocaine from Mexico to Canada. The paper reports that Salem Superior Court Judge Howard Whitehead took Flores' military service into consideration in determining his prison sentence.
Flores served two tours of duty in Iraq.
The third man Torres Munoz, and Grilli, are due back in court in July. The Salem News reports they are being offered sentences of 12-14 years in prison in exchange for guilty pleas.