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Contraband
02/18/2009

ICE investigation leads to conviction for Tucson drug smuggler

TUCSON, Ariz. - A federal jury found a Tucson man guilty of possession with intent to distribute marijuana and carrying a firearm in connection with a drug trafficking crime Tuesday following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Rudyard C. Williams, 48, was convicted following a four-day trial before U.S. District Court Judge Raner C. Collins. Williams is being held in federal custody pending sentencing, which is set for April 23. ICE agents arrested Williams after finding him in possession of approximately 400 pounds of marijuana and multiple weapons.

In May 2007, ICE agents conducted a "knock and talk" at a house in south Tucson. While no one answered the front door, agents discovered that individuals were running out of the back of the house. Williams was found across the street, hiding behind a washer/dryer. Inside the house, agents discovered bundles of marijuana, packing material and very little furniture. Agents also found a duffle bag containing a recently used plane ticket in Williams' name, .45 caliber ammunition and ammunition suitable for an AK-47.

Outside of the house, ICE agents found two duffle bags over a wall on the neighbor's property. Inside the duffle bags, they found two AK-47s and bales of marijuana wrapped and marked similarly to the marijuana found in the house. Five feet from the duffle bags, agents located a Ruger .45 caliber semi automatic pistol.

A total of approximately 400 pounds of marijuana was found in the house and in the duffle bags. The jury found Williams guilty of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, and carrying the .45 caliber Ruger in connection with a drug trafficking offense.

A conviction for possession with intent to distribute 400 pounds of marijuana carries a maximum penalty of five to 40 years in prison, a $2 million fine or both. A conviction for carrying a firearm in connection with a drug trafficking offense carries a maximum penalty of not less than five years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both.