Caldwell Car Dealer Was Loco 

In the good old days before the big box stores, the secret to thriving with your own business was to combine diverse services with a generous attitude. Open a checking account and get a free toaster. Buy four tires and we'll give you a phat discount on some snow chains. Anything to keep the customer happy, right? Richard Alaniz, 27, was keeping that spirit of entrepreneurship alive at his car dealership, Alaniz Motors in Caldwell. Unfortunately, his idea of a hot side-deal was a half a pound of methamphetamine and a couple of illegal guns. But in this case, that was exactly what his customer--in the classic "secret shopper" mold--was looking for.

Alaniz was sentenced in U.S. District Court last week to nine years in prison for selling his illicit wares to an undercover federal informant in October of 2004. After being arrested, he also confessed to being one of the founding members of East Side Locos, a prominent gang in Caldwell. After the sentencing, officials from Caldwell Police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said they hoped Alaniz's stiff punishment would send a daunting message to younger members in the Locos and other local gangs.

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