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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, December 15, 2014

Canadian Man Pleads Guilty To Conspiracy To Distribute Approximately 20 Kilograms Of Cocaine

FRESNO, Calif. —Donald Lancer, 47, of Saskatchewan, Canada, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to distribute and possess to distribute cocaine, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

According to court documents, on December 17, 2013, Heather Lynn Necheff, 47, of Regina, Saskatchewan Canada, was stopped for a traffic violation by a California Highway Patrol officer in Kern County in the Buttonwillow area. While conducting a search of her vehicle, officers found approximately 20 kilograms of cocaine wrapped in duct taped packages inside a suitcase. Necheff said she was transporting the suitcase from Los Angeles to Seattle to be given to Donald Lancer. Necheff agreed to assist law enforcement by continuing on to Seattle to deliver the suitcase. To eliminate the risk of losing the suspected drugs, agents replaced them with 20 kilograms of “sham” cocaine. On December 19, 2013, under agents’ supervision, Necheff delivered the suitcase to Lancer. Lancer was subsequently stopped while driving a semi-truck in Seattle, Washington. Officers found the suitcase delivered by Necheff. Lancer admitted that he believed it contained narcotics and that he received it from another person who transported it to him from Southern California.

According to his plea agreement, Lancer also admitted that he had earlier agreed with an individual in Canada to become a commercial truck driver and to comingle narcotics within legitimate commercial loads. Lancer stated that on this particular trip he was paid by individual in Canada to pick up narcotics in Seattle and drive them into Canada. Lancer said this was the third time that he was to transport what he knew to be narcotics into Canada from the United States and that although he never opened the items that he commingled with his legitimate loads, he knew the packages contained narcotics.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the California Highway Patrol. Assistant United States Attorney Brian K. Delaney is prosecuting the case.

Necheff pleaded guilty on April 29, 2014, to the conspiracy and on July 21, 2014, was sentenced to 13 months in prison.

Lancer is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Lawrence J. O'Neill on March 2, 2015. Lancer faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

Press Release Number: 
Docket #: 1:14-cr-002 LJO
Updated April 8, 2015