Thursday, October 29, 2009
BC man who combined corporate ingenuity and violence is now facing 30 year prison term
U.S. seeks 30-year term for 'drug lord' UN gang leader
BY KIM BOLAN
VANCOUVER SUN - OCT 29, 2009
United Nations gang leader Clay Roueche was like a multinational entrepreneur, expanding his lucrative drug empire across North America with a combination of corporate ingenuity and violence.
He earned premier status in the criminal underworld by overseeing “the movement of tens of thousands of pounds of marijuana, thousands of kilograms of cocaine and millions of U.S. dollars,” U.S. prosectors say.
For that reason, the B.C. man should spend the next 30 years behind bars when he is sentenced in a Seattle courtroom in December, the U.S. Attorney says in more than 60 pages of just-filed court documents ...
“He used private airplanes, float planes, helicopters, cars, semi-trucks and coded BlackBerry telephones to create a secret and successful organization that he planned to extend into the Far East and South America. He employed pilots, drug couriers and money transporters to carry out the objectives of his organization.”
The documents quote former associates of Roueche, who cooperated with U.S. officials, saying he threatened to kill people who wanted out. One said Roueche claimed he had beaten someone with “dull machetes.”
“His organization has used any means necessary to carry out this goal, including threats and violence.”
Roe and Rogoff said Roueche “worked hard, with laudable organizational skills coupled with an attention to detail, to achieve the moniker ‘drug lord.’
The sophisticated law enforcement probe that led to Roueche’s downfall is laid out in the sentencing documents.
“Using customary investigative techniques, routine arrests and seizures, confidential informants, undercover agents, recorded phone calls, a consensual wire intercept, search warrants, physical surveillance, electronic surveillance and inter-agency cooperation as well as other sophisticated law enforcement techniques, a multitude of federal law enforcement agencies undertook to dismantle or disrupt the organization,” the documents say.
Roueche was nabbed in May 2008 as he attempted to attend a gang meeting in Mexico. Mexican authorities — tipped off about his criminal connections — turned Roueche away and he was forced onto a flight that landed in Texas, where an warrant was executed.
Roe and Rogoff say in their memo that they understand 30 years is “an extraordinary sentencing recommendation.”
“The government makes the recommendation because Clay Roueche is an extraordinarily dangerous, remorseless defendant, who committed extraordinarily serious crimes. He deserves this extraordinary sentence,” they said.
The breadth of the conspiracy as laid out in the court documents is startling.
U.S. agents “identified at least 15 helicopter landing sites on federal and state lands in Washington state that were being used by the UN gang for drug and human smuggling,” the documents say.
The agents believe Roueche spearheaded over several years the shipment of at least 2,000 pounds of B.C. bud a month into the U.S. and the movement into Canada of 200 pounds of cocaine per month. [Emphasis added ... because the raids on the BC Legislature were alleged to be tracking one thread of this investigation into organized crime. See footnote*. - BC Mary.]
“This sort of criminality dramatically increases the United States’ illicit drug supply by causing Mexican and Colombian drug trafficking organizations to smuggle more cocaine,” Special Agent Peter Ostrovsky said in an affidavit.
“In all, the investigation resulted in the seizure of 2,169 pounds of Canadian marijuana, 335 kilograms of cocaine, $2,033,388 in U.S. currency, two pounds of crack cocaine, four pounds of methamphetamine, and five firearms,” Roe said. “In addition, agents conducted the undercover delivery of $748,460 in U.S. currency at the direction of Roueche.”
U.S. investigators got help from the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit-B.C. after Roueche’s arrest in Texas.
The CFSEU information highlights Roueche’s leadership role in the organization and “his use of violence within the gang is clear from two different themes,” the sentencing memo says.
Intercepted conversations of Roueche’s dad Rupert indicated his son’s “long-running role in drug-trafficking.”
The U.S. Attorney says a Roueche letter intercepted from jail indicates “he simply wishes to continue supporting his organization until he can get out and pick up where he left off.”
Roueche deserves to spend three decades in jail because of the “creativity, toughness, and intelligence required to build and maintain an illegal organization the size of the UN gang.”
“Roueche has travelled the world to find new sources of supply and new potential markets for his drugs. He is worldly and charismatic. Unfortunately, he has chosen to use these traits in a manner that serves to hurt the people of the United States on as grand a scale as possible,” the memo says ...
* Reported explanation for the slowness in laying charges in the BC Rail / Basi Virk Basi case is that four separate investigations were under way:
- BC Rail
- Agricultural Land Reserve
- A "related Proceeds of Crime probe"
(Legislative Raid Case Hits 4 Years, The Canadian Press, Dec. 27, 2007)
It's interesting, isn't it ... would Vancouver Sun have covered this massive story about Roueche if it hadn't been covered first by the Seattle papers?
As for Times Colonist, they weren't just "virtually" non-existent in the Bains trial, they were 100% absent despite the fact that the trial took place a hop, skip, jump down the street from the TC offices.
It still baffles me. Why?
I had forgotten about the John Les story, didn't he resign while an investigation was taking place ??
Which points up a big problem with the BC electorate and electorates in general; a lack of a sense of moral propriety...not just the people have come to assume and accept that politicians are necessarily corrupt, but that there is no moral compunction that they shouldn't be. The most discouraging part is that there are hordes of people who are quite OK with the BC Liberals doing anything, and as we have seen many in the government and political party apparatus who are "in on the game".....that voters do not "enforce" propriety but not re-electing wrongdoers is one of the biggest failings of our system, and that failing is not in the system, but in "the people" themselves....