News and Press Releases

FEDS SEIZE NEARLY ONE-THOUSAND POUNDS OF MARIJUANA AT PUYALLUP RESIDENCE - TWO CANADIAN MEN CHARGED

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 23, 2005

Two brothers from Calgary, Alberta, Canada appeared in U.S. District Court in Seattle today charged with Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute. BRAYDON MIRABACK, 19, and ZACHARY MIRABACK, 22, made their initial appearances in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Alice Theiler in Seattle.

According to the criminal complaint, agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement received a tip that two cars traveling I-90 were involved in Marijuana distribution. On September 21, 2005 near North Bend, Agents spotted the Maroon Toyota Tundra with Colorado license plates traveling in tandem with a GMC Spartan Van with Washington plates. Agents followed the vehicles to a house on 111th Street Court East in Puyallup. As the men were getting out of their vehicles, ICE agents could see large black hockey bags in the back of the van. A Washington State Patrol drug sniffing dog alerted to the presence of drugs in the van. The men were taken into custody.

In all there were 23 hockey bags of marijuana in the van with an estimated weight of 900 to 1,000 lbs. The street value of the drugs is approximately $3 million.

"These arrests continue to highlight the extensive amount of marijuana being smuggled into the United States. ICE will continue to focus our investigative efforts on this type of criminal activity and those individuals involved," stated Leigh Winchell Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Seattle.

ZACHARY MIRABACK initially refused to identify himself and carried no ID. An identification document would have been necessary for him to legally cross the U.S.- Canada border.

Magistrate Judge Theiler set a detention hearing for the men on September 27, 2005 in front of Magistrate J. Kelley Arnold in Tacoma. A preliminary hearing on the charges is set for October 7, 2005 in front of Magistrate Karen Strombom in Tacoma.

A complaint contains allegations that have not yet been proven at trial beyond a reasonable doubt. Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute is punishable by a mandatory minimum five years in prison, and up to 40 years in prison.

The case is being investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement with assistance from the Washington State Patrol. Assistant United States Attorney Susan Roe is prosecuting the case.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington, at (206) 553-4110.

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