News and Press Releases

United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington

Chief Judge Reimposes 30 Year Prison Term Saying Roueche Led a Major Criminal Organization

February 15, 2011

CLAY FRANKLIN ROUECHE, 35, of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 30 years in prison and 5 years of supervised release for Conspiracy to Export Cocaine, Conspiracy to Import Marijuana, and Conspiracy to Engage in Money Laundering. This was a second sentencing hearing for ROUECHE, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison on December 16, 2009. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a second sentencing hearing so that Chief U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik could clarify the evidence he considered in reaching the sentence he imposed. At the new sentencing hearing today Chief Judge Lasnik said ROUECHE led a major criminal organization, whose drug trafficking and money laundering inevitably led to violence. “The closer I look at the crimes, the more I am convinced that 30 years is the just and appropriate prison term.“

ROUECHE was indicted by a federal grand jury in Seattle in October 2007, but the indictment remained under seal until his arrest May 19, 2008, in Texas. ROUECHE had been attempting to enter Mexico. He was denied entry and escorted to a plane to return him to Canada. The plane stopped in Dallas, Texas, where he was arrested on a warrant from the Western District of Washington. ROUECHE pleaded guilty in April 2009. In his plea agreement, ROUECHE admits that from 2005 on he conspired with others to export cocaine from the U.S. to Canada, and conspired to import B.C. Bud marijuana into the U.S. Further he admits in the plea agreement that he conspired with others to transport and deliver the cash proceeds from the illegal drug sales. The plea agreement resolves possible charges in other judicial districts in California, Oregon, Eastern Washington and Idaho.

For sentencing, prosecutors presented detailed information regarding the scope of the drug and money laundering conspiracies. ROUECHE “oversaw the movement of tens of thousands of pounds of marijuana, thousands of kilograms of cocaine, and millions of U.S. dollars through several states and at least three North American countries. He used private airplanes, float planes, helicopters, cars, semi-trucks and coded Blackberry telephones to create a secret and successful organization that he planned to extend into the Far East and South America,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo.

The investigation of ROUECHE spanned three years and resulted in a number of seizures including 2,169 pounds of Canadian marijuana, 335 kilograms of cocaine, $2,033,388 in U.S. currency, two pounds of crack cocaine, four pounds of methamphetamine, and five firearms. ROUECHE, as the leader of the UN Gang, “was the public face of this violent, quasi-corporate group, and led its drug trafficking endeavors. The group used guns, threats and violence to keep its contracted workers and gang members in line and to ensure that no one informed on the group’s activities,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo.

This was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved. The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). CFSEU-BC and Canadian Law enforcement undertook their own investigation in Canada. Canadian and American legal procedures allowed for a limited but valuable exchange of information which was of key assistance. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Susan M. Roe and Roger Rogoff.


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