15 Year Drug Fugitive Arrested In Amsterdam
NOV 24 -- (Seattle, WA) – DEA Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Arnold R. Moorin and the United States Attorney for the Western District of Washington, Jeffrey Sullivan, announced that on November 21, 2008, Lee Rushing was arrested in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Rushing is the last of four defendants arrested this year in connection with a drug smuggling conspiracy that imported 50,000 pounds of hashish into the United States in 1992. U.S Marshal’s had pursued Rushing since 1997, when a grand jury indicted Rushing and numerous other defendants. The U.S Attorney’s Office will seek to extradite Rushing from the Netherlands.
According to records filed in the case, in 1992, Rushing joined conspirators Frank Falco, Jeffrey Jay Warren, and others in a scheme to smuggle 50,000 pounds of hashish from Pakistan into the United States. The men hired a fisherman, Robert Tillitz, to arrange the transfer of the hashish from a freighter to a smaller fishing boat off the coast of Washington. Tillitz rented a home and a warehouse in South Bend, Washington as well as a boat named the “Kila Kila”, a truck and a trailer. In July 1992, the Kila Kila and two other fishing boats met the “mother ship” out in the Pacific. The Kila Kila transported 50,000 pounds of hashish to shore, which was distributed to Oregon, California, and New York by rental trucks.
Falco rented an apartment in New York City, which served as the headquarters for the drug distribution conspiracy. Additionally, Falco arranged for warehouse storage for the hashish in New York and later had it distributed to buyers in Toronto, Canada. Falco approved all drug sales and was in charge of distributing drug proceeds. On September 18, 1992, a search warrant was served on Tillitz’home in Crescent City, California, and law enforcement found $445,000 buried in the front yard. In 1994, a Seattle federal grand jury indicted numerous co-conspirators, at which time Falco, Tillitz, Warren and others fled to Mexico. In 1998, Tillitz was arrested in Mexico, extradited, and was convicted by a federal jury in Tacoma. Tillitz was sentenced to over 10 years in prison.
In April 2007, Warren was arrested near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The U.S extradited Warren and he is scheduled for sentencing on February 20, 2009. In March 2008, Falco was arrested after turning himself in at the U.S Consulate in Guadalajara, Mexico. Falco is scheduled to be sentenced on January 9, 2009 and faces up to twenty years in prison.
Shortly after Warren’s arrest, Richard Harrison surrendered to U.S Homeland Security officials at the U.S/Mexico border in Nogales, Arizona. On April 11, 2008, Harrison was sentenced to 21 months in prison.
This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, and the FBI.