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Contraband
05/21/2009

ICE probe nets multi-million dollar Ecstasy seizure

Agents find stash of tablets and cash hidden in bed of tow truck

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A Canadian tow truck driver remains jailed here on federal drug charges after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents found a cache of Ecstasy pills with an estimated street value of more than $7 million hidden in a concealed compartment in the bed of the vehicle.

Robert Fox, 37, of Kamloops, British Columbia, was arrested late Saturday afternoon by ICE agents after California Highway Patrol officers pulled him over on northbound Interstate 5 at the 113 exit in Woodland, Calif. Fox, who is charged with possession with intent to distribute, was ordered held without bond during his initial appearance in federal court earlier this week. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of California.

The cache of more than 330,000 Ecstasy tablets was packaged in 69 individual bags. Collectively the seized pills weighed approximately 228 pounds. On the street, Ecstasy tablets often sell for as much as $20 apiece, prompting authorities to calculate the seizure's retail value at approximately $7 million. In addition to the pills, agents also found $435,000 in cash inside the concealed compartment.

"This represents the largest recent Ecstasy seizure in the Sacramento area," said Daniel Lane, assistant special agent in charge for the ICE Office of Investigations in Sacramento. "Substances like Ecstasy not only pose a significant public safety risk, they also generate huge profits that are often funneled back into other types of illegal activity. That is why ICE is determined to attack and dismantle these kinds of criminal schemes"

Ecstasy is the common name for 3,4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine, also known as MDMA, a synthetic drug chemically similar to the stimulant methamphetamine and the hallucinogen mescaline.