STOCKTON - 53-year-old California man pleaded no contest Thursday to two marijuana-related charges, freeing him to be deported to Mexico to face allegations that he participated in the slayings of eight municipal government officials 13 years ago.
Genaro Olaguez was immediately sentenced to consecutive 365-day jail terms after entering the pleas to possession of marijuana for sale and theft of utility services, said San Joaquin County Deputy District Attorney Todd Turner.
Turner said he told immigration officials they could pick up Olaguez at any time for deportation to Mexico. The overcrowded county jail routinely releases inmates early, he noted, so "if they can get rid of somebody they will."
Olaguez, whose last name is also listed as Olaguez-Rendon, was arrested by a U.S. Marshals Service task force this month on a warrant from Mexican officials on suspicion of killing a commissioner and seven other city officials in Sinaloa, Mexico, in May 2000.
His court-appointed attorney, Ed Shaver, said he could not comment.
"All I know is he pled out to a marijuana case. I don't know anything about Mexico," Shaver said.
Vanessa Calva Ruiz, a spokeswoman for the Mexican embassy in Washington, D.C., has said officials there can't comment or provide more information because of the ongoing legal case.
Olaguez was arrested in January, along with his wife and two others, in connection with the operation of four houses in Stockton, 50 miles south of the state Capitol, where authorities found more than 900 marijuana plants and nearly 30 pounds of marijuana that was being prepared for sale.
Turner said Olaguez's wife, Andrea Rivera-Hernandez, was arrested by immigration officials Thursday on charges that she's in the country illegally. She still faces county marijuana charges.