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News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 8, 2003

FORMER MARIJUANA DISTRIBUTOR AND IMPORTER
SENTENCED TO 10 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON

Boston, MA….A man who was extradited to Massachusetts from France last summer on fourteen-year old charges of conspiring to distribute and import marijuana was sentenced today in federal court.

Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in New England; and United States Attorney Michael J. Sullivan announced that Richard BOOKER, age 62, formerly of Lyon, France and St Barthelemy, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton to 10 years' imprisonment and 2 years' special parole. BOOKER pleaded guilty in July 2003 to an indictment returned in September 1989 charging him with participating in a conspiracy to import marijuana from Colombia into the United States during the 1980's and in a conspiracy to distribute marijuana throughout the United States during the 1970's and the 1980's.

As summarized by the U.S. Attorney's Office at the earlier plea hearing and at today's sentencing hearing, BOOKER was a member of a wide-ranging conspiracy to import substantial quantities of Colombian marijuana and to distribute that marijuana to various parts of the United States during the mid -1970s through mid - 1980s. BOOKER supplied thousands of pounds of marijuana to co-conspirators while he was living in Miami, Florida during the 1970's and this marijuana, in turn, was distributed by other co-conspirators to various distribution points around the United States, including Massachusetts and various other parts of New England. In the early 1980s, BOOKER relocated to the Caribbean island of St. Barthelemy, but remained part of the marijuana conspiracy. From this locale, BOOKER made arrangements for Colombian freighters, carrying thousands of pounds of marijuana, to be met by sailboats off the coast of St. Barthelemy that would then be loaded with marijuana and sailed to the coastline of North Carolina. Once offloaded from the sailboats in North Carolina, the marijuana was driven by various couriers to distribution points throughout the United States.

After a prolonged investigation, various defendants were indicted in 1988 and, as further evidence was developed, BOOKER and other defendants were added to the indictment in 1989. BOOKER was not arrested and he was a fugitive from justice until he was arrested in Lyon, France in December 1994. He spent approximately 14 months in prison in France and was subsequently released on bail in France in or about April 1996 pending his appeal of the extradition order. At that point, BOOKER left France and relocated to Senegal in Africa. He was a fugitive again until he was arrested in August 2002 as he attempted to enter France from England. At that time, BOOKER stated that he was living in Summerset, England. BOOKER was extradited from France to the United States to answer to these charges on August 19, 2002. BOOKER was been held in federal custody without bail since his return to the United States.

On October 20, 2003, Robert S. STOWE, another fugitive from justice who was also charged in 1989 for his participation in the same distribution and importation conspiracy, will be sentenced by Judge Gorton. STOWE surrendered himself to the U.S. Marshals in Boston in July 2003 and subsequently pleaded guilty in federal court. STOWE has been held in federal custody without bail since surrendering to the U.S. Marshals Service.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, and the U.S. Marshals Service, in cooperation with the North Carolina Bureau of Investigation, the New Hampshire State Police, the Miami-Dade, Florida Police Department and the Minneapolis, Minnesota Police Department.

Press Contact: Anthony J. Pettigrew, (617) 557-2138

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