News and Press Releases

Repeat Offender Smuggled $2 Million in Ecstasy into U.S. by Boat

July 26, 2010

CHRISTOPHER WALTERS, 41, of Ferndale, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 14 years in prison and six years of supervised release for conspiracy to distribute MDMA (ecstasy). WALTERS picked up a $2,000,000 load of drugs from a co-conspirator in an isolated cove in the San Juan Islands. The drugs were delivered by jet ski from an organized crime group in Canada. The group is believed to be the Hells Angels. At sentencing U.S. District Judge James L. Robart said, “We need to have sentences that put people on notice in the U.S. and Canada that this conduct will not be tolerated.”

According to records filed in the case, WALTERS came to the attention of law enforcement in July 2009, when the U.S. Coast Guard stopped his 19 foot boat near Bellingham Bay for a safety inspection. WALTERS and another man on the boat were escorted to the Coast Guard Station after they were found to have a personal use quantity of marijuana. Due to some suspicious statements and circumstances surrounding the boat, law enforcement officers noted its various movements. On July 17, 2009, WALTERS and two others took the boat on a trailer to a storage facility where they were observed unloading some duffle bags. A drug dog alerted to the storage locker. A court authorized search of the storage locker revealed more than 100,000 pills of MDMA (Ecstasy) and BZP. The drugs are estimated to be worth more than $2 million. Over the next few days co-conspirators were arrested. WALTERS went into hiding, but was arrested September 12, 2009, at his girlfriend’s apartment. WALTERS made statements to other co-conspirators that he was being paid $30,000 per load to smuggle drugs for the Hells Angels organized crime group in Canada.

WALTERS has an extensive criminal history over the last twenty years with convictions for burglary, assault, carrying a concealed weapon, drug manufacturing and distribution while armed and aggravated assault.

“Today’s sentencing illustrates that drug smugglers, motivated by greed, ultimately pay a very high price for their crimes,” said Leigh Winchell, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for ICE. “HSI will continue to pursue investigative leads and bring to justice those who engage in this type of illegal activity, regardless of whether it is carried out by air, land or sea.”

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with assistance from the U.S. Coast Guard.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lisca Borichewski.

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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