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CANADIAN WOMAN SENTENCED TO 5 YEARS IN PRISON FOR DRUG SMUGGLING
North Vancouver BC Resident Smuggled Hundreds of Thousands of Pills Over the Border

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 26, 2010

KRYSTA EDWARDS, 23, of North Vancouver, BC, Canada, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to five years in prison and two years of supervised release for Possession of BZP with Intent to Distribute. EDWARDS was arrested on June 26, 2009, at a Bellingham storage facility. EDWARDS was connected to a storage unit in that facility that contained 26 kilos of BZP and ecstasy (MDMA). EDWARDS was indicted July 15, 2009, and pleaded guilty November 13, 2009. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones noted the hundreds of thousands of pills she brought into the country saying, “Think of how many lives you impacted with the number of pills you brought in. That could have been the first step for that young person on a lifetime of addiction.”

According to records in the case, EDWARDS was part of a conspiracy bringing drugs across the border from Canada, storing them in Washington State, and then taking them by train to the Chicago and Detroit area for distribution. Canadian co-defendant Maksim Maiburov had crossed into the U.S. some 41 times between August 2008 and April 2009. He had traveled to Chicago on Amtrak 26 times. EDWARDS had made a dozen trips across the border to the U.S. during the same time period and crossed the border in tandem with another known conspirator. EDWARDS had been given a Ford Explorer with a hidden compartment in December 2008, and began smuggling pills across the border – about 50,000 each load.

In asking for a significant sentence Assistant United States Attorney Kate Crisham noted that EDWARDS played a larger role in the conspiracy than a low level drug courier. “Edwards appears to have been an involved and highly respected member of this conspiracy. In addition to the significant amount of drugs she was entrusted with smuggling across the border (50,000 pills per trip), Edwards was also entrusted with picking up drug proceeds, and managing (others).... Edwards was clearly given a significant amount of responsibility within this organization and played a much greater role than the typical drug “mule,” Ms. Crisham wrote in her sentencing memo.

When she addressed the court, EDWARDS spoke through tears saying she regrets what she did every day.

“Today’s sentencing should remind would-be drug smugglers of the severe consequences that await if they succumb to the lure of quick riches,” said Leigh Winchell, special agent in charge of ICE’s Office of Investigations in Seattle. “ICE is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to deter the smuggling of contraband across our border whether by air, land or sea.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Seattle Police Department all worked on this case.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kate Crisham.

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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