United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington
FORMER TACOMA RESIDENT CONVICTED OF ECSTASY SMUGGLING CONSPIRACY
Defendant Conspired in Massive Smuggle of 26 Kilos of Ecstasy
MALEEK JAMES, aka Brian Womak, 35, formerly of Tacoma, Washington was convicted late Friday, February 18, 2011, in U.S. District Court in Seattle of four counts related to the smuggling of a large load of ecstasy across the border from Canada into the United States. At the time of the smuggling incident, December 10, 2009, JAMES had illegally taken up residence in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. JAMES was deported from Canada in June 2010, and was arrested at the border. After a four day trial, jurors deliberated about two hours before finding JAMES guilty on all counts. When he is sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ricardo Martinez on May 13, 2011, JAMES faces up to 20 years in prison on each count.
According to records filed in the case and testimony at trial, JAMES arranged for two co-conspirators to travel into the U.S. to pick up a load of ecstasy that other members of the conspiracy carried across the border near the aptly named “Smugglers Inn,” located just off the border between the U.S. and Canada. On the evening of December 10, 2009, JAMES’ sister-in-law Kim Farah and a second person selected by JAMES, Naseer Hussain attempted to cross into the U.S. from Canada in a car provided by JAMES. Farah presented a story at the border for the trip – a story that didn’t check out. Law enforcement had been alerted to the activities of the smuggling group and their travel in the U.S. was monitored. Farah and Hussain drove to the vicinity of the Smugglers Inn after crossing the border. Within the hour, a short distance from the Inn, their car was pulled over by law enforcement and 26 kilos of ecstasy was found stuffed in a golf bag in the trunk. The drugs had a street value of between $1.5 and $2 million. Following Farah’s arrest JAMES traveled to the U.S. for her court appearance. In statements made both to law enforcement and on recorded jail calls, JAMES made it clear he was knowledgeable of the smuggling scheme and had been involved in putting it together. In one phone call JAMES tells his sister-in-law, “We got greedy... we should have aborted the plan.”
The jury found JAMES guilty of Conspiracy to Possess Ecstasy with intent to distribute, aiding and abetting the possession of ecstasy with intent to distribute, conspiracy to import ecstasy, and aiding and abetting the unlawful importation of a controlled substance.
Both Kim Farah and Naseer Hussain have pleaded guilty and will be sentenced later this spring.
The case was prosecuted by Lisca Borichewski and Steve Masada. The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement with assistance from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, United States Border Patrol, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and Canadian Border Services Agency.