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Eugenio Velázquez, the lead architect of El Cubo in Tijuana, is to be sentenced for cocaine smuggling in San Diego next month, U-T San Diego reported. The paper said he was arrested March 4 at the San Ysidro port of entry when a vehicle he was driving drew the attention of a narcotics-detecting dog. Cocaine with a street value of up to $464,000 was found in the vehicle's battery, the paper said.
The brightly colored El Cubo was added onto the Tijuana Cultural Center in 2008.
The paper said Velázquez, 51, is a dual U.S.-Mexican citizen and had qualified for a SENTRI fast-crossing pass. Zeta newspaper named him Tijuana cultural personality of 2008.
The paper said he also was behind the design of the new Roman Catholic cathedral under construction across the street from City Hall and a state arts center under construction at Parque Morelos.
El Cubo is used for art exhibits and for many other events. For example, President Felipe Calderón spoke there last year, and border mayors' events have been held there.
U-T San Diego: "Tijuana architect pleads guilty to smuggling cocaine
Update, Dec. 10: Associated Press story in Frontera (PDF).
Update, Dec. 11: Architect Eugenio Velázquez was given a six-month federal jail sentence and six months' home detention Monday as a result of extenuating circumstance, which was that a former client required him to cross the drugs in payment of a supposed debt for providing security. The prosecutor had sought a 2 1/2 year sentence. Story, U-T San Diego. Story, Frontera (PDF).