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Malaysian death sentences commuted for 3 Mexican brothers

FILE - In this May 17, 2012, file photo, Mexican brothers, from left, Luis Alfonso Gonzalez Villarreal, Simon Gonzalez Villarreal and Jose Regino Gonzalez Villarreal, leave a courthouse in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. A lawyer for the Mexican brothers convicted of drug trafficking said Friday, Sept. 21, 2018, death sentences for the three men have been commuted to prison terms. They are serving new sentences of 30 years in prison, starting from the date of the royal pardon. (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin, File)

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — The deaths sentences against three Mexican brothers convicted of drug trafficking in Malaysia have been commuted to prison terms, a lawyer said Friday.

Lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik said the prison department confirmed the sentences had been commuted by the state sultan on March 26.

They are serving new sentences of 30 years in prison, starting from the date of the royal pardon. Teh was one of two lawyers for the brothers during their trial but said he didn’t handle their bid for a royal pardon.

The brothers from Mexico’s Sinaloa state were arrested at a secluded Malaysian drug factory in 2008 and said they had been cleaning the place.

Police found more than 29 kilograms (63 pounds) of methamphetamine at the factory.

Malaysia’s High Court convicted the brothers — Jose Regino, Simon and Luis Alfonso Gonzalez Villarreal — of drug trafficking in May 2012. The crime carries a mandatory penalty of death by hanging.

Their appeals to higher courts had failed with the country’s top federal court upholding the death sentences in 2015.

Sinaloa state is the cradle of Mexico’s drug trade, but the brothers had no criminal record at home. They had worked making and selling bricks in Mexico, and their family said the brothers left for a job opportunity abroad and there were no signs they were involved in the drug trade.

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