Malibu News
Drug Smuggler Sentenced To 6 Years In Prison
By Damian Kelly
Jul 17, 2012 - 3:15:45 PM

MALIBU—A man who was guilty of trying to smuggle bales of marijuana into the United States was sentenced on Monday, July 16 to six years in federal prison.


According to reports, Pedro Lopez, 29, of Mexico was arrested along with two others on January 15 by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents after their fishing boat landed in the Deer Creek area near Malibu.


Deer Creek near Malibu. Photo courtesy of Tough Ascent blog
Authorities reported that when they arrived, the men were in the process of unloading more than 45 bales of marijuana from the boat.  An investigation revealed that the marijuana originated in the Ensenada area of Mexico.


Lopez had pled guilty in April before U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II to possession with intent to distribute more than 1,000 pounds of marijuana. 


The two other men working with Lopez, Rafael Castillo-Juarez, 47 and Javier Lizarraga-Calderon, 48 of Mexico also pled guilty to possession with intent to distribute marijuana.  They were each sentenced to 1 year in prison.  Upon completion of their prison sentences, all three men will face deportation.


Claude Arnold, special agent in charge for Homeland Security Investigations in Los Angeles, commented in a statement on the sentencing of Lopez.


"This sentence should send a strong signal about the consequences facing those involved in this dangerous mode of smuggling,'' said Arnold.  "The surge in maritime smuggling activity here in Southern California represents both a security and a public safety threat and we are working closely with our federal, state and local partners to disrupt these schemes and bring those responsible to justice.''

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