News and Press Releases

United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington

Man Who Attempted To Sell Map Of Border Cameras And Sensors Sentenced To Prison

Defendant Claimed to have Stolen the Map at Garage Sale of Border Patrol Agent

February 10, 2012

            A Bellingham, Washington, man who tried to sell a map of surveillance equipment on the U.S./Canada border was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to a year in prison and three years of supervised release, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.  LEIF RANKIN, 32, pleaded guilty in November 2011, to theft of government property.  He was arrested in September 2011, when he tried to sell the map to someone he thought was involved in smuggling drugs across the U.S./Canada border.   In fact, the potential buyer was someone working with law enforcement.  At sentencing U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones said, “Once you sold those documents, you had no idea how they would be used…. They could have been used by terrorists.”

            According to records in the case, in late August or early September 2011, RANKIN started asking his criminal associates about smugglers who might be interested in buying a map he had which he claimed showed the sensors and cameras in place on the U.S. border with Canada.  U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) used a person working with law enforcement to learn more about the map RANKIN claimed to have stolen from a garage sale at the home of a Border Patrol Agent.  When RANKIN met the person to make the sale for $6,000 he was arrested.

            “The defendant thought he could profit from selling stolen government information, he was wrong,” said Brad Bench, acting special agent in charge of ICE -HSI in Seattle. “As a result of this HSI-led multi-agency investigation, information that could have weakened border security will stay out of criminal hands.”

            “We would like to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations for their hard work, commitment and dedication to this case” said Chief Patrol Agent John Bates of the U.S. Border Patrol, Blaine Sector.

            The case was investigated by ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations and was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Marci Ellsworth.  Ms. Ellsworth is an attorney with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, specially designated to prosecute cases in federal court.


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