It isn't often that a judge goes out of his way to praise a man and then sentence him to three decades in jail. But it doesn't seem as if Clayton Roueche is just any old criminal either.
Clayton Roueche was accused of leading the infamous U.N. Gang.
Roueche's sentencing in Seattle's District Court yesterday was the culmination of a five year investigation by U.S. Customs. As head of the British Columbia's "U.N. Gang" -- thus named because of the diversity within its ranks -- Roueche was kingpin of a drug smuggling outfit that brought in an estimated $26 million per year.According to prosecutors, the U.N. Gang used intimidation and violence to smuggle tons of a notoriously potent strain of marijuana known as B.C. bud across the Canadian border, sell it in the U.S. (often in Seattle), then use the profits to buy Mexican coke and import it back up North.
Roueche is, then, what you may refer to as a "bad" guy. Yet U.S. District Chief Judge Robert Lasnik spent a lot of telling talking him up before dropping the hammer down.
According to the Times, "Lasnik said he saw 'much good' in the 34-year-old smuggler." He also called the former scrap-metal salesman and welder a devoted father to his three kids and the "personification of honor" to his fellow gang members.
For more on Roueche, check out Rick Anderson's cover story "The Last King of Potland."