SANTA ANA — Daniel James Fowlie, convicted kingpin of one of the nation's largest marijuana trafficking operations, was sentenced Monday to 30 years in prison and fined $1 million.
Fowlie, who has been the target of federal and local drug investigations for about 20 years, was convicted of running a drug operation from a remote ranch straddling the Orange County and Riverside County line. Federal prosecutors say the operation generated $40 million in income between late 1981 and 1985.
"He is someone who has worked hard in the commodities business to earn this type of sentence," said U. S. District Judge Alicemarie Stotler. "Only the commodity he chose happened to be marijuana."
Authorities say Fowlie built a warehouse with an underground tank at his ranch and organized other warehouses for the storage of tons of marijuana imported from a major Mexican drug cartel.
Fowlie was arrested in Mexico in 1987 but was not returned to the United States until 1990, when he lost a long battle to avoid extradition.
At his sentencing, Fowlie, 57, apologized to the court, saying, "I haven't been an angel all my life."
Federal prosecutors said Fowlie had an income of $3 million from one year alone in his drug operations and that millions of dollars in profit from the business remain unaccounted for.
"It's certainly a good bet that he still has a lot of money out there," Special Assistant U. S. Atty. James Dutton told the judge.