Mennonite Christian sentenced to prison for helping Mexican cartel move drugs
In a drug smuggling conspiracy between Mennonite Christians and a Mexican drug cartel, a man was sentenced to 15 months in prison for aiding the movement of tonnes of marijuana to the United States.
In what prosecutors called a drug smuggling conspiracy between Mennonite Christians and a Mexican drug cartel, a man was sentenced to 15 months in prison for aiding the movement of tonnes of marijuana to the United States.
Abraham Friesen-Remple was sentenced in federal court in Denver to 15 months in prison after pleading guilty to using a telephone to facilitate the distribution of marijuana. A judge said he would likely be released later in the day because of time already served. Prosecutors said he played a minor role as a driver, helping the Juarez cartel smuggle drugs in petrol tanks of cars and inside farm equipment.
Mennonite Christians have historical ties to the Amish, and are radical Protestant reformers originally known as Anabaptists who adopted pacifism and fled persecution in central Europe for North America. Some conservative Mennonite communities still wear traditional dress and avoid modern technologies.
Friesen-Remple was one of seven people indicted, all but one of whom are members of a Mexican Mennonite community in Chihuahua. Prosecutors also say the Mennonites also grew marijuana for the cartel.
Court records show Friesen-Remple delivered a shipment of marijuana - hidden in a farm bulldozer - to a home in Shelby, North Carolina. Drug Enforcement Administration agents tapped his phone and learned he was getting directions from someone in Mexico.
The next month, a fellow member of the drug ring, who became a cooperating witness, told agents Friesen-Remple delivered the 714 kilograms of pot that agents found during a search of his home. Friesen-Remple was arrested on August 20, 2013, in the Santa Testa Point of Entry in New Mexico.