VANCOUVER, B.C. - A cocaine mule who lost his shipment and called U.S. customs officials for help has been handed a 14-year prison term in by a U.S. District Court judge in Seattle.
Leroy Carr, of Federal Way, Wash., was convicted last October of intent to distribute drugs after being arrested near the Sumas border crossing leading into British Columbia.
Trial records show Carr called U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in August 2007, claiming he had stashed 31 kilograms of cocaine near the border but when he returned he couldn't find the back packs.
A news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office said Carr asked customs officers to issue a news release saying the government had seized the drugs "so that the organized crime group he worked for (in British Columbia) would not retaliate against him for stealing the drugs."
Two weeks later, a Boy Scout Ranger called officials to say he had found the drugs.
During his trial Carr claimed he never possessed the drugs, even though he drew a map pinpointing where he thought he left the drugs for customs officials.
When handing down his sentence, Judge Ricardo Martinez said there were a number of signs Carr was involved in substantial amounts of smuggling over a period of time.
Court records show Carr had run into border agents on many occasions and each time he was caught with large amounts of cash and tools commonly used by smugglers, such as night-vision goggles and a global positioning system.
In asking for a significant sentence, U.S. assistant attorney Kate Crisham wrote to the court that evidence presented at trial demonstrated that this was not Carr's first time trafficking cocaine.
"He had smuggled drugs across the border on numerous occasions on behalf of the Hell's Angels," she wrote.
"As a cocaine smuggler, the defendant was an integral part of the illegal distribution network that continues to feed the demand for the drug."
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