Final defendant sentenced in heroin case

The eighth and final defendant in a heroin-distribution case in Northern Kentucky was sentenced Tuesday in federal court.

Juan Luis Flores-Lara, 29, of Navarit, Mexico, was sentenced to 37 months in prison by United States District Court Judge David L. Bunning.

According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office, Flores-Lara took part in a conspiracy to import hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of heroin from Mexico to distribute it in Campbell, Boone and Kenton Counties, and in southern Ohio. He was among several men recruited from Mexico to be street-level distributors.

Once the recruits arrived in the United States, leaders of the conspiracy gave them vehicles, cellphones and living quarters, the news release said. The leaders took orders over the phone, and the dealers would deliver the heroin to addicts, it said.

"The conspirators packaged the heroin in balloons and stored the balloons in their mouths while en route to conduct transactions so they could swallow the evidence if approached by police," the news release said.

The members of the group were indicted in federal court in July and pleaded guilty in October. Fernando Aguilar-Ochoa and Jonatan Flores-Guerrero, identified as leaders in the conspiracy, each received a sentence of 188 months in prison.

Several others received lesser sentences, from 30 months to 120 months, the news release said.