ACTOR ARRESTED FOR DRUG SMUGGLING:
Producers and directors in Hollywood were finally beginning to recognize actor Erik Aude’s (pictured above) abilities and he was finally being cast out of hundreds of other hopeful actors.
Aude had yet to receive his big break but he did appear in the film, “Hey Dude, Where’s My Car.” He was still considered a struggling actor in Hollywood and he worked several part time jobs.
One of those jobs was at a gym in Burbank. This is where he met a man who gave his name as Rai Gharizian. This man was actually at the gym looking for his next victim. There, he found a bright, energetic, struggling actor named Erik Aude.
Rai befriended Erik, asking him how to work the weight machine and inquiring, ‘what exercise would be best to work this area of the body or that area of the body.’
After several months of training, Rai obtained his dream body. Rai told Erik he needed an assistant to help him transport fine leather clothing from the Middle East on a part-time basis for an astronomical amount of money.
Erik flew over to the Middle East two times in twelve months and had a wonderful time. He met some wonderful friends in Turkey and learned a new culture. He looked forward to his third trip to Pakistan. Little did he know that he was just a pawn in a deadly game of ‘Drug Smuggling.’
The manufacturer in Pakistan gave Erik a suitcase full of fine leather clothing and after checking for imperfections, Erik was driven to the airport to return to America. The custom officials in Pakistan would search the baggage and find 3.6 grams of opium hidden in the lining of the suitcase given to Erik with the leather clothing.
In Pakistan, it doesn’t matter if you are aware of drugs or not, you are guilty of drug smuggling regardless. Erik faced up to fourteen years to life or the death penalty by hanging and Pakistan is not a member of the Prisoner Transfer Treaty Program so Aude couldn’t do his time in a U.S. jail.
His mother contacted every politician she could think of and the U.S Embassy. She also began receiving prank emails, asking for $125,000 for Erik’s release.
Finally, Erik was released from a Pakistan prison (where conditions are so harsh, the usual survival rate for prisoners is four years) nearly three years after he was arrested.
Aude’s mother said a Pakistani judge ordered his sentence commuted to time served after the man (Rai) who hired him was convicted in the United States on drug-smuggling charges. In a deposition, the man admitted that he never told Aude he would be picking up opium on the trip.
In addition to his mother Shirley working tirelessly for his release, Rep. Howard McKeon also lobbied the Pakistani’s for Erik’s release.