SEATTLE - A drug smuggler who carried hundreds of thousands of pills into the U.S. from Canada says he never meant to harm young people. But, James D. Riggins admits that he was carrying drugs marketed to youth.
Riggins called KING 5 News after we reported Friday that he was sentenced to five years in prison for smuggling the club drug BZP or "bennies." It's a less potent knock-off of ecstasy.
"They're making me look like the devil right now. This is crazy. I got to clear this up. That's when I called you," said Riggins, who says he doesn't like being labeled a drug dealer who targets kids.
"Stuff gets around. It's not my intention for it to get to kids," said Riggins.
The pills were shaped to look like Bart Simpson, Snoopy, Smurfs, Transformers and even Pres. Barack Obama.
"Everybody watches cartoons. All my adult friends. But yeah, they will appeal to kids but that wasn't my intention," said Riggins. "If any kids have taken drugs of this kind, it wasn't from me directly."
Riggins was arrested last year when border agents discovered a hidden compartment under his truck bed.
"I designed that truck. I designed and built it myself," said Riggins.
"Bennies" are legal in Canada, but federal agents believe Riggins also smuggled in more potent drugs, such as ecstasy.
"I have no comment on that," said Riggins.
On New Year's Eve 2006, 16-year-old Danielle McCarthy of Puyallup died after an overdose of ecstasy. Her friend, Tia Jensen, doesn't buy Riggins' argument that he never personally sold drugs to young people.
"He is responsible because he's the one that's smuggling it into here and who's selling it to people who are selling it to kids," said Jensen.
"I understand. I probably did cause heartache and people to become addicts by my works (sic)," said Riggins.
Riggins has some hard earned advice for those who might follow in his footsteps.
"Stay out of this game, kids. It won't last. There is nobody that has ever made it through this game," said Riggins.
Riggins says he's a good guy who went bad when his printing business suffered in the lousy economy. In court documents, the feds tell a different story. They say he didn't have a legitimate source of income and he played a key part in a large drug network.