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Man pleads guilty in high school meth-distribution case

SAN DIEGO — A San Diego man admitted in federal court Thursday to taking part in a methamphetamine-trafficking scheme involving San Ysidro High School students recruited to serve as underage drug couriers.

Alejandro Barba, 27, pleaded guilty during a hearing before Magistrate Judge Nita Stormes to conspiracy to distribute the illegal narcotic, a crime that carries a minimum 10-year prison sentence, a maximum term of life behind bars and a $1 million fine.

Barba was arrested in May after receiving five kilograms of methamphetamine from a student in a parking lot at the school just north of the U.S.-Mexico border, according to prosecutors.

As part of his plea, Barba admitted to repeatedly picking up quantities of the drug at the Airway Road campus from minors who had smuggled the substance into the United States.

Sentencing for Barba is scheduled for Jan. 4.