updated 12/1/2006 11:52:11 AM ET 2006-12-01T16:52:11

A grandmother found with a trunkful of marijuana was convicted of drug running in what prosecutors said was an attempt to earn cash for a bingo habit.

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State troopers found 10 bundles of pot totaling 214 pounds hidden in Leticia Villareal Garcia’s car trunk last year when they stopped her outside Bisbee, in far southeastern Arizona.

Villareal, 61, told jurors before they convicted her Thursday that her only regular income was a $275 monthly welfare check, but she frequently played bingo and occasionally won thousands of dollars.

Prosecutor Doyle Johnstun said the game was Villareal’s undoing.

‘She’s got a bingo problem’
“People who play bingo almost every night of the week end up losing in the long run,” Johnstun told jurors. “The underlying issue is that she’s got a bingo problem, which explains why an otherwise nice person might get sucked into something like this.”

Jurors rejected Villareal’s argument that she’d been tricked into carrying the drugs.

Villareal faces three to 12 years in state prison when she is sentenced Dec. 18.

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