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Valley Center

SAN DIEGO COUNTY DIGEST

May 17, 1988

Donald Mason, 47, of San Marcos, was sentenced by a San Diego federal judge Monday to six years in federal prison for laundering money for his sons' huge methamphetamine operation in North County.

Mason is the last of 11 people to be sentenced for their participation in the multimillion-dollar operation. Mason owned Don's Freeway Auto Painting of Escondido, which was seized by the government after his June indictment.

The sentence handed down by U.S. District Judge Gordon Thompson was a year longer than the term recommended by the probation department. Mason pleaded guilty Feb. 26 to being an accessory after the fact to a conspiracy to possess methamphetamine with intent to distribute.

In his plea, Mason told the judge that his sons gave him $1 million in proceeds from methamphetamine sales to launder. His attorney, Michael Lipman, said, however, that Mason was outside the conspiracy.

"This is a man who did stupid things for his sons," said Lipman.

The investigation into the family's methamphetamine operation began April 23, 1987, after a traffic stop in Valley Center by sheriff's deputies. Mason's son, Ronald, 26, of Valley Center, and Elbry Spencer, 51 , of Escondido, were arrested after a deputy found 100 pounds of methamphetamine in their truck.

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