Tacoma man pleads guilty in California oxycodone smuggling case

Staff writerMarch 11, 2014 

A Tacoma man pleaded guilty in federal court in Fresno, Calif., on Monday to participating in a drug-smuggling ring that imported oxycodone, hydrocodone and marijuana into Western Washington from California.

David Ruem, 32, pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute oxycodone and hydrocodone and to making illegal cash deposits.  

Ruem faces up to 20 years in jail and more than $1 million in fines when sentenced June 2, according to a news released issued by the U.S. Attorney General’s Office for the Eastern District of California.

Prosecutors wrote in court records that Ruem and others conspired from 2008 to 2013 to obtain prescriptions for oxycodone and hydrocodone from a California doctor then transported or mailed the pills to Western Washington, where they were sold on the black market.

Ruem and others then laundered the profits through back accounts, making cash deposits of $10,000 or less to try to avoid law enforcement scrutiny.

Federal prosecutors contend the ring made more than $3.3 million in such deposits over five years.

The ring was busted as part of Operation Footprint, a joint initiative by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Internal Revenue Service’s criminal investigation division, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Postal Service. 

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