United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington
TWO MEN SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR SMUGGLING MORE THAN $650,000 FROM CANADA INTO THE U.S.
Defendants Carried Back-Packs Filled with Vacuum Packed Canadian and U.S. Currency
Two men who are citizens of Mexico, were sentenced last week to prison terms for bulk cash smuggling. FABIAN ARIAS-RAMIREZ, 39, of Fresno, California, was sentenced to 20 months in prison and SERGIO ARROYO-RIVERA, 22, also of Fresno, was sentenced to a year in prison. Both men were in the United States illegally and will be deported following their prison terms. The men were arrested December 15, 2010, after crossing the border from Canada on a forest trail seven miles east of Blaine. They pleaded guilty in March 2011. U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones imposed the sentence.
According to records in the case, the men were contacted by Border Patrol agents after a sensor near the border was tripped. The men were wearing camouflage clothing and carried a special blue light flashlight that could not be seen from a distance. Each man had a backpack. Inside each pack agents found about thirty pounds of currency in shrink wrapped bags. There was $296,185 in U.S. currency and $360,760 in Canadian currency. The money is believed to be the proceeds of illegal narcotics smuggling. The cash has been forfeited to the government.
The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) following the initial arrests by the U.S. Border Patrol.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kate Vaughan.