Winnemucca Man Sentenced On Drug Charges

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A Winnemucca man who fled after being convicted on federal drug charges was sentenced Friday to more than 13 years in prison.

Rene Blanco, 26, was sentenced to 13 years and six months for distribution of methamphetamine, conspiracy and aiding and abetting.

U.S. District Judge David Hagen in Reno tacked on another six months for failing to appear at an April 2002 bail review hearing.

Blanco and co-defendant Ediberto Alvarez were indicted by a federal grand jury in October 2001 following a joint investigation called "Operation Whiteout" that targeted a drug organization in rural northern Nevada.

The two were charged with selling three-quarters of a pound of methamphetamine to a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration informant and were convicted by a jury last year.

Alvarez previously was sentenced to a little over 12 years in prison, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Blanco fled before sentencing and was arrested in January in California, prosecutors said.