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Lodi man sentenced to 20 years in meth bust

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Posted: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 11:56 am | Updated: 6:17 am, Wed Sep 25, 2013.

A Lodi man arrested by federal investigators during a multi-state methamphetamine bust was sentenced to 20 years in prison for conspiring to possess pseudoephedrine, according to United States Attorney Benjamin Wagner.

Manuel Aguilar-Godinez, 38, ran a large-scale methamphetamine lab in Calaveras County, capable of producing up to 20 pounds of methamphetamine every 24 to 48 hours, according to court documents and witness testimony.

On Friday, United States District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. sentenced Aguilar-Godinez, who was former owner of La Michoacana Western Wear, a clothing store in Lodi.

In February 2008, several individuals, along with Aguilar-Godinez purchased 34 pounds of pseudoephedrine — a precursor chemical used in the manufacture of methamphetamine — in the Los Angles area, according to Wagner.

Authorities arrested Aguilar-Godinez — an undocumented immigrant who has twice been deported — seven months later in Lodi, where they found documents and evidence tying him to a methamphetamine lab in Calaveras County, as well as the pseudoephedrine deal in Los Angles.

Investigators also found two rifles, including an SKS assault rifle, high-capacity magazines and a .40 caliber pistol at or near the lab, according to Wagner.

During a two-day hearing, a witness testified that Aguilar-Godinez used weapons to threaten his clientele.

The witnesses testified that Aguilar-Godinez hired at least six men to hunt him down over a drug debt. When they found the man, Aguilar-Godinez said, “If you run, (I’ll) have you shot where you stand,” the witness testified.

Aguilar-Godinez is one of 51 defendants charged in nine related indictments that stem from a 13-month federal investigation with connections to Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Alaska, Georgia and California.

Aguilar-Godinez ran one of four drug rings federal and state investigators dismantled in August 2008.

During the investigation, agents seized more than 15 firearms, six marijuana grow houses with approximately 300 to 1,300 plants per house, 13,000 ecstasy pills and more than 27 pounds of methamphetamine in solution at the lab site.

Contact reporter Kristopher Anderson at krisa@lodinews.com.

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