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Canadian truck driver admits to smuggling cash and Ecstasy

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A Canadian tow truck driver linked to one of the largest local Ecstasy seizures in recent history pleaded guilty in federal court here Tuesday to federal drug and currency smuggling charges.

Robert James Fox, 38, of British Columbia, Canada, specifically pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute MDMA (commonly known as Ecstasy) and bulk cash smuggling. The charges are the result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with assistance from the California Highway Patrol (CHP).

"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," said Daniel Lane, assistant special agent in charge for the ICE Office of Investigations in Sacramento. "That is why ICE is determined to attack and dismantle these kinds of criminal schemes."

"This guilty plea represents our commitment to use all resources available to remove those who traffic in dangerous drugs from our community," said United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner.

In May 2009, a CHP officer pulled Fox over for a traffic violation as he traveled on Interstate 5 through the city of Woodland, Calif. The officer observed several discrepancies under the bed of the truck suggesting a hidden compartment. When the officer ran his police dog around the truck, the dog alerted to the presence of controlled substances. The officer searched the truck and found a hidden compartment containing drugs and cash. Fox admitted to carrying more 225 pounds of Ecstasy pills and $435,000 in U.S. currency.

ICE agents seized the Ecstasy pills and cash, which are being forfeited by the United States. Another $2,670 found in the truck's cab is also being forfeited as drug proceeds.

Fox is scheduled to be sentenced March 23 by U.S. District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton. Together the drug and currency smuggling charges carry a maximum term of up to 25 years in prison and a possible fine of more $1 million.