United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner
Eastern District of California
Canadian Citizen Indicted for Possession of Cocaine
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Docket #: 1:13-cr-50-
FRESNO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a one-count indictment Thursday, charging Stephen Potter, 66, of Vancouver, British Columbia, with possession with intent to distribute cocaine, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
According to court documents, on January 30, 2013, Potter was stopped in Fresno County for a traffic violation. He consented to a search of his vehicle, and 31 kilograms of cocaine were found in a hidden compartment behind the rear seats. The cocaine was divided into 28 brick-like packages and wrapped with aluminum foil. According to the criminal complaint, Potter admitted that he was transporting the cocaine from Los Angeles to Canada.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Fresno Methamphetamine Drug Task Force, including the California Highway Patrol, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and California Department of Justice, Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Melanie L. Alsworth is prosecuting the case. Potter was released on a $300,000 bond.
If convicted, Potter faces a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison and a $10 million fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
The charge is only an allegation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.