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DRUG TRAFFICKER PLEADS GUILTY TO BC BUD IMPORTATION CONSPIRACY
Seattle Native Extradited From Spain Imported More than 1,000 Kilos of BC Bud

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 19, 2009

DAVID R. MENDOZA, 44, formerly of Bellevue, Washington, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to Conspiracy to Import more than 1,000 Kilos of Marijuana. Under the terms of the plea agreement, MENDOZA must be sentenced to 14 years in prison or either side can withdraw from the plea agreement. MENDOZA has also agreed to forfeit four properties to the government. The first indictment in this case was returned in December 2006, and the indictment was unsealed in January 2007, after MENDOZA was located in Spain. MENDOZA was successfully extradited from Spain in April 2009. Sentencing is scheduled for September 24, 2009.

MENDOZA was identified as the leader of a conspiracy to smuggle multiple 100 kilo loads of BC Bud marijuana into the U.S. by commercial trucks and by helicopter. In his plea agreement MENDOZA admits he was responsible for a 400 kilo load of BC Bud intercepted at the border crossing at Blaine, Washington in April 2003. The drugs were hidden in a load of lumber. In 2005, MENDOZA admits he imported more than 1000 kilos of BC Bud via helicopter into Washington State. In 2006, additional loads of marijuana belonging to MENDOZA were seized. MENDOZA admits he is responsible for importing and distributing thousands of pounds of marijuana in Washington and elsewhere.

MENDOZA has two prior drug convictions: a 1990 conviction in Nevada for possession of cocaine, and a 1993 conviction in the Western District of Washington for Conspiracy to Import Hashish and for Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine and Hashish.

As part of the plea agreement, MENDOZA is forfeiting to the government properties he owns in Bellevue, Tacoma and Deer Park, Washington, as well as a movie theater in Bend, Oregon. MENDOZA admits these properties were purchased with the proceeds of the drug conspiracy.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Susan M. Roe, Richard E. Cohen and Ronald J. Friedman.

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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