Gulf Cartel leader "Comandante Wicho" gets 7 years in prison

A man convicted of immigration and weapon charges and who authorities say is a manager in Mexico's Gulf drug cartel has been sentenced to seven years in prison.

Jose Luis Zuniga Hernandez -- known as "El Wicho" -- was sentenced Thursday in Brownsville.

Federal authorities say he managed cartel operations just across the Rio Grande from Brownsville in Matamoros, Mexico, before fleeing to the U.S. to escape enemies.

Zuniga pleaded guilty earlier this month to illegal re-entry and being an illegal immigrant possessing a firearm.

Border Patrol agents arrested him and four others in October 2011 near the Rio Grande. He was carrying more than $36,000, cocaine and a gold-plated handgun.

He had argued he was fleeing for his life. Cartel infighting drove several members into the United States.