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A U.S. district judge has sentenced an Omaha man to 15 years in federal prison in connection with 35 pounds of meth found in a traffic stop near Lincoln last June.

At trial in Omaha in December, a jury found Alfredo Valquier guilty of conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.

Thursday, Judge Robert F. Rossiter Jr. gave him prison time, plus five years of supervised release.

His brother, Carlos Valquier, got 10 years in prison at his sentencing last month.

He and three others — Blanca Avila De Vega and Melissa De Vega, both of Phoenix, and Alejandro Buendia-Ramirez — pleaded guilty.

Blanca Avila De Vega got a year and three months in prison, and Melissa De Vega got time served. Buendia-Ramirez hasn't yet been sentenced.

On June 7, Blanca Avila De Vega was driving when a Lancaster County sheriff's deputy stopped her on Interstate 80 in a rented SUV with two of her daughters — Melissa De Vega and a 12-year-old girl.

The deputy asked for and was given consent to search the SUV, which turned up 35 one-pound bags of crystal meth with a street value of $1.5 million hidden in suitcases in the cargo area.

Investigators came to believe 15 pounds of the meth were headed from Phoenix to Omaha, according to court records.

Law enforcement officials arrested Buendia-Ramirez after he picked up what he thought was 15 pounds of meth at an Omaha hotel room, and Carlos Valquier, the man who drove him there.

They arrested Alfredo Valquier at a rental house near I-80 used to stash drugs and drug money. A search of the house turned up $19,000.

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