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Marco Morales Gets 7 Years In Prison For Cocaine Charge

Although there is a lot more to this story his conviction for the distribution of one kilo of cocaine, the Chicago Tribune reported that former city contractor Marco Morales was sentenced to seven years in prison for the federal drug charge.

At the suggestion of his Chicago criminal attorney, US District Judge William Hart allowed the time Marco Morales served in a Mexican prison to count toward his sentence, meaning he'll spend another three-and-a-half behind bars.

Marco Morales' case began in 1995 when he was the first defendant charged in a high-profile Chicago corruption probe, as recounted by an April 6 Chicago Sun-Times article. He pleaded guilty to bribing City Hall officials and testified for the prosecution before a federal grand jury. In exchange for his cooperation, prosecutors dropped the cocaine charge.

He was allowed to drive himself to prison but drove to Mexico instead and lived as a fugitive until last year. He Marco Morales was captured in 2004 but was able to beat extradition and was released. Prosecutors refiled the felony cocaine charges and won his extradition in 2009.

He pleaded guilty to the reinstated cocaine charge when he was brought before the judge last June, according to a Chicago Tribune article. He once had friends in high places, not just in City Hall but within Chicago's notorious Outfit crime organization, who may have threatened his life after a guilty plea.

But these days Marco Morales is mostly alone.

Judge William Hart, who handled the original corruption case and expressed regret for letting Marco Morales get away, acknowledged that the drawn-out ordeal was "[his] mistake, probably." 

Marco Morales will be deported to Mexico after he serves out his sentence.

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