ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — Federal authorities say three men have been convicted by a federal jury in Alexandria for roles in a Mexican-based group that smuggled cocaine into northern Virginia.

Erasmo Alvarado-Ibarra, 28, of Woodbridge was convicted Feb. 10 of conspiring to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. Authorities added Monday that Jose Zuniga-Ruiz, 40, of Woodbridge and Silvestre Castro-Sandoval, 36, of Stafford were convicted that same day of conspiring to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine.

U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride of the Eastern District of Virginia said in a statement that sentencing is scheduled May 18. MacBridge says 55 people have now been convicted as part of ongoing task force investigation of Virginia-based cells of a Mexican organization that has trafficked cocaine into the region near Washington using drug couriers.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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