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Drug lord faces life for Puerto Rico bar massacre


A Puerto Rico drug lord faces life in prison after being convicted for his role in a bar massacre which left nine people dead, the US Department of Justice said Monday.

Alexis Candelario-Santana, 41, will be formally sentenced on June 21 after being found guilty on nearly 30 separate charges stemming from a shooting at a bar in the coastal town of Toa Baja in October 2009.

Candelario-Santana and another gunman opened fire at La Tombola nightclub, killing nine people and an unborn child and wounding 19 others.

Evidence at trial said Candelario-Santana had opened fire after a dispute with a rival drugs trafficker. The victims included Candelario-Santana's godson and cousin, the Justice Department statement said.

Candelario-Santana had only been released from prison in February 2009 after spending seven years behind bars for drugs offenses.

A Justice Department statement said Candelario-Santana's organization had sold crack, cocaine, heroin and marijuana.

According to evidence introduced at trial, Candelario-Santana had between 1995 and 2001 personally killed or ordered others to kill 13 individuals viewed as being threats to his organization.

Puerto Rico, a Spanish-speaking Caribbean island of 3.7 million, has been a US possession since 1898 and residents are US citizens.