News and Press Releases

Defendant failed to return for trial; was extradited from Canada

January 27, 2006

JAMES FRANK SIMMONDS, 45, of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, was sentenced today to 63 months in prison and five years of supervised release for Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute. In sentencing SIMMONDS, Chief U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik said ,“Money is behind most of the drug cases we see. This was just pure greed.”

According to court records, on February 13, 2003, SIMMONDS attempted to smuggle more than 652 kilos of marijuana into the United States at the Sumas border crossing. The marijuana was packed in several large duffel bags concealed in a load of fiberboard on a double tractor trailer rig. SIMMONDS was charged with the marijuana smuggling offense and was released on $13,000 cash bond. He was ordered to maintain his residence in Kamloops, British Columbia, and appear for trial in the Western District of Washington in May, 2003. SIMMONDS did not appear for court proceedings and a warrant was issued for his arrest. SIMMONDS had moved to the Edmonton area and was arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in June, 2004. SIMMONDS fought extradition to the United States, but was ordered returned to the U.S. to face the charge in July, 2005. SIMMONDS entered a guilty plea on October 21, 2005.

In his statement to the court, SIMMONDS noted that there had been a significant change in his thinking about the damage of marijuana use. SIMMONDS noted that his son had gone from being a marijuana user to being a methamphetamine addict. SIMMONDS wrote to the court, “If my own son can become so addicted to drugs from going from marijuana to crystal meth, then what have I done? How many lives have I tried to destroy by bringing marijuana into your country? How much pain and suffering have I caused?”

Chief Judge Lasnik noted that SIMMONDS had a new realization of the impact of his actions. “He now understands that there are mothers and fathers spending money on drugs instead of food and shelter... young people becoming addicted to drugs....It is haunting him to this day,” Chief Judge Lasnik said.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kathryn Frierson.

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

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