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Man Pleads Guilty 3 Days Into Federal Drug Trial

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FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A man who backed out of plea deal at the last minute in a drug conspiracy case agreed to plead guilty after all, three days into his trial.

David Cerna Jr., of Moorhead, Minn., is among a dozen people charged in federal court in North Dakota with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance. Authorities say the ring involved large quantities of methamphetamine that originated in Texas.

Cerna nixed the original plea deal during a hearing in October, telling a judge that “anything I do puts me in harm’s way.”

The 37-year-old Cerna pleaded guilty Thursday during the third day of trial. He faces up to life in prison.

Cerna’s brother, Juan Cerna, pleaded guilty in the conspiracy on the same day David Cerna changed his mind.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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