News and Press Releases

Kingpin Faces Decades in Federal Prison

April 28, 2009

CLAY FRANKLIN ROUECHE, 33, of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, pleaded guilty this afternoon in U.S. District Court in Seattle to Conspiracy to Export Cocaine, Conspiracy to Import Marijuana, and Conspiracy to Engage in Money Laundering. When sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik on September 18, 2009, ROUECHE faces a prison term of no less than ten years and up to life in prison.

ROUECHE was indicted by a federal grand jury in Seattle in October 2007, but the indictment remained under seal until his arrest May 19, 2008, in Texas. ROUECHE had been attempting to enter Mexico. He was denied entry and escorted to a plane to return him to Canada. The plane stopped in Dallas, Texas, where he was arrested on a warrant from the Western District of Washington. In his plea agreement, ROUECHE admits that from 2005 on he conspired with others to export cocaine from the U.S. to Canada, and conspired to import B.C. Bud marijuana into the U.S. Further he admits in the plea agreement that he conspired with others to transport and deliver the cash proceeds from the illegal drug sales. The plea agreement resolves possible charges in other judicial districts in California, Oregon, Eastern Washington and Idaho. At sentencing, prosecutors will present more detailed information regarding the scope of the drug and money laundering conspiracies and Chief Judge Lasnik will be able to consider that information for sentencing purposes.

“Today’s guilty plea should give pause to those who are engaged in the risky and violent business of illegal drug trafficking,” said Leigh Winchell, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Office of Investigations. “ICE remains committed to coordinating its investigations with law enforcement authorities on both sides of the border and beyond in an effort to stem the flow of illicit drugs that ultimately endanger the safety and security of our communities.”

Two defendants named in the indictment remain fugitives, and two defendants are scheduled for trial on June 22, 2009.

This was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved. The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Susan M. Roe and Roger Rogoff.

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

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