SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A Canadian truck driver has been sentenced to 97 months in federal prison for smuggling currency and Ecstasy following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the California Highway Patrol.
In addition to the prison time, Robert James Fox, 38, of British Columbia, Canada, was ordered by U.S. District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton to forfeit approximately $435,000 for possession with intent to distribute MDMA (also known as Ecstasy) and bulk cash smuggling. Fox pleaded guilty January 26.
In May 2009, a California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer stopped Fox for a traffic violation as he was traveling through Woodland, Calif., on Interstate 5. The CHP officer observed several discrepancies under the bed of the truck that were indicative of a hidden compartment. The officer ran his police dog around the truck and the dog alerted to the presence of controlled substances. The officer then searched the truck and found a hidden compartment containing more than 225 pounds of Ecstasy and $435,000 in U.S. currency.
"This sentence serves as a stern warning about the consequences awaiting those who smuggle dangerous drugs," said Daniel Lane, assistant special agent in charge for the ICE Office of Investigations in Sacramento. "Ecstasy trafficking is hugely lucrative and young people are typically the biggest market for this drug. Given the risks to our nation's youth and the volume of illicit profits involved, combating this type of criminal activity is a top ICE enforcement priority."
At Tuesday's sentencing hearing, Judge Karlton said that the penalty was reasonable and justified in light of the amount of drugs and amount of cash hidden within the truck.