Santa Monica police officers assisted U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in Newport Beach late last month in the arrest of a man suspected of trying to smuggle Ecstasy into the United States from Canada, authorities said.
Alexandru Sabau, 37, a Canadian citizen now living in Newport Beach, was taken into custody by Immigration and Cus- toms Enforcement agents and Santa Monica police a short distance from his apartment, authorities said. Investigators arrested Sabau after he allegedly arrived for a meeting with an informant to finalize a deal to trade the Ecstasy drug for 25 kilograms of cocaine, federal officials said.
Authorities alleged that approximately 100,000 Ecstasy tablets were found inside the trunk of Sabau’s rental car. The pills, which typically retail for $20 a tablet, would have been worth as much as $2 million on the street, authorities estimated.
Agents subsequently served a federal search warrant at the suspect’s residence where they allegedly discovered a small amount of cocaine and approximately $14,000 in cash.
Sabau was charged in a criminal complaint with conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, officials said. The charges are the culmination of a three-month joint undercover probe involving Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Santa Monica Police Department.
“This investigation arose from several low-level narcotics cases in the Santa Monica and West Los Angeles area,” said Lt. Doug Theus, commander of the Santa Monica Police Department Office of Special Enforcement. “We believe our collaborative efforts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement are what led to the successful capture of this Ecstasy supplier.”
The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.
If convicted, Sabau faces a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison. The case investigation is ongoing.