News and Press Releases

FEDERAL WAY MAN SENTENCED TO 14 YEARS IN PRISON FOR COCAINE POSSESSION IN CONNECTION WITH CROSS BORDER SMUGGLING
Experienced Smuggler Linked to Backpacks Full of Cocaine Discovered by Boy Scout Ranger

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 16, 2009

LEROY CARR, 47, of Federal Way, Washington was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 14 years in prison and five years of supervised release for Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Distribute. CARR was convicted in October 2008, following a four day jury trial. CARR was arrested September 15, 2007, about 100 yards south of the Sumas Port of Entry after multiple interactions with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez said there were “a number of signs CARR was involved in substantial amounts of smuggling over a period of time.”

According to records in the case and testimony at trial, CARR had come to the attention of border agents on numerous occasions, each time in the possession of large amounts of cash and tools commonly used by smugglers, including night vision goggles and a GPS system containing coordinates to a well-known smuggling trail. On August 7, 2007, CARR contacted ICE agents at the border claiming that he had stashed 31 kilograms of cocaine in two blue backpacks near the border. CARR indicated the drugs were hidden in the brush near the entrance to a boy scout camp. CARR said he stashed the drugs August 3rd, and when he returned on August 4th, they were gone. CARR wanted the ICE agents to put out a press release saying the government had seized the drugs, so that the organized criminal group he works for would not retaliate against him for stealing the drugs. Two weeks later, on August 21, 2007, a Boy Scout Ranger called the Northwest Regional Drug Task Force and reported two blue backpacks he had just found near the entrance to a Boy Scout camp that appeared to contain cocaine. The backpacks were dry and in good shape. Tests showed they contained 31 kilograms of cocaine.

At trial CARR testified falsely, trying to claim he never possessed the drugs and didn’t really know where they were, even though he had specifically described the location to the ICE agents and even drew them a map. At sentencing prosecutors argued CARR’s sentence should reflect the fact that CARR lied repeatedly while under oath on the witness stand. Judge Martinez said there was substantial evidence CARR had lied, but the judge declined to use that fact as a basis for increasing CARR’s sentence.

In asking for a significant sentence, Assistant United States Attorney Kate Crisham wrote to the court that “The evidence presented at trial demonstrated that this was not CARR’s first time trafficking cocaine, and that on the contrary, he had smuggled drugs across the border on numerous occasions on behalf of the Hell’s Angels. As CARR himself acknowledged at trial, cocaine is an extremely dangerous drug that has destroyed lives and ravaged communities. As a cocaine smuggler, Defendant was an integral part of the illegal distribution network that continues to feed the demand for the drug.”

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, and the Northwest Drug Task Force.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kate Crisham, and Katheryn K. 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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