News and Press Releases

Defendant Sent Huge Shipment of Cocaine and Guns to Canada

July 1, 2009

EVANS MATAN, 36, of Poulsbo, Washington, was sentenced today to ten years in prison, five years of supervised release, and a $15,000 fine, for Conspiracy to Export Cocaine. MATAN was arrested October 26, 2007, after the seizure of 228 kilos of cocaine at the U.S./Canada border. MATAN had paid a co-conspirator to move the cocaine from his home in Poulsbo, to a storage locker in Bothel, Washington. From the storage locker, other co-conspirators loaded the cocaine and three firearms into a GMC Denali SUV and drove them to the border where officers made the first arrests. Last month the Canadian ringleader of the conspiracy, Charles Lai, was sentenced to 13 years in prison. At sentencing U.S. District Judge James L. Robart said it was one of the largest cocaine transactions to come before the court. “When you start loading guns and cocaine in your own residence, you have actually gone as low as you can go,” Judge Robart told MATAN.

MATAN was charged as part of a joint Canadian-United States investigation. On October 24 and 25, 2007, Blaine and Seattle ICE agents followed a suspected drug courier, Canadian Herman Riar, as he entered the United States at the Blaine border crossing. He was observed driving to the Bothell storage unit, loading boxes (later found to contain cocaine) into his vehicle, and driving back north, crossing the border again at Blaine. After Riar crossed into Canada, Canadian authorities followed and stopped him. They seized approximately 228 kilograms of cocaine from his vehicle. They also found three guns packed alongside the cocaine. Canadian news reports state that Shminder Johal, 34, and Riar, 26, both of Richmond, B.C., were charged in Canada with smuggling $6 million dollars in cocaine and three guns. The news reports also state that Baljinder Kandola, a six-year veteran Canadian Border Guard was arrested for his involvement in allowing criminal organizations to pass through into Canada from the United States.

MATAN pleaded guilty on February 20, 2008.

At the sentencing hearing, Assistant United States Attorney Patricia Lally told the court that MATAN had been involved in the drug trade for years, sending BC Bud marijuana to Chicago and Southern California, and shipping cocaine north to Canada. Ms. Lally told the court that unlike many defendants who turn to drug dealing because of desperate personal circumstances, MATAN had a privileged upbringing in Gig Harbor where his father was a doctor. MATAN “actively imported and exported millions of dollars worth of drugs,” Ms. Lally told the court.

Through tears MATAN apologized to his family members who were in court and expressed concern about spending the next ten years in prison. MATAN will be required to report to start serving his sentence in the next 4-6 weeks.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), with assistance from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Doug Whalley and Patricia Lally.

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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