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Heroin-Filled Hiking Boots Earn Mexican Doctor Seven-Year Prison Sentence

Two Mexican men, one a medical doctor, were sentenced to prison yesterday for their participation in a heroin-trafficking conspiracy that stretched from a drug cartel in Colombia, through Arizona, and all the way to New York City.

Dr. Jose David Portillo-Lopez, 39, and Juan Bautista Beltran-Lopez, 38, both from Mexico, were sentenced to 87 and 84 months in prison, respectively, by U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow.

The men, according to U.S. Attorney spokesman Wyn Hornbuckle, entered the United States near Yuma in December 2007, where they were met by members of a Colombian drug cartel.

They were each given a pair of hiking boots with modified soles large enough to carry about 1 kilogram of heroin.

Portillo-Lopez and Beltran-Lopez then me with other smugglers to move the heroin to New York City.

The two men made it to the Big Apple. but DEA agents had been tracking their movements all the way across the country.

As they arrived at their final delivery point, a hotel near Times Square in Manhattan, federal agents swooped in to intercept the dope and arrest Portillo-Lopez and Bletran-Lopez.

At sentencing, Hornbuckle says Judge Snow gave Portillo-Lopez more prison time than his accomplice because, among other things, he's a doctor.

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