Pro Skateboarder Sentenced for Federal Drug Trafficking Charges in San Diego

In September 2018, deputies with the San Diego County Sheriff's Department found a pound of heroin and methamphetamine in the Encinitas home of professional skateboarder Rob Lorifice

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A professional skateboarder from San Diego’s North County will spend the next five years on supervised release for charges stemming from a federal drug trafficking case, with one year under house arrest.

Judge Dana M. Sabraw sentenced Robert Lorifice, 32, to supervised release on Aug. 7, citing credit for time served. He will also need to pay $2,000 in fines.

Lorifice pleaded guilty back in September 2019 to possessing methamphetamine and heroin with the intent to distribute in San Diego County. Lorifice’s former girlfriend, Elizabeth Landis, 27, of Encinitas, also pleaded guilty in federal court to the same charges.

In January 2019, NBC 7 reported Lorifice was facing federal criminal drug charges following a raid at his home where authorities discovered heroin, methamphetamine, and more than 800 Xanax pills.

With his guilty plea last year, Lorifice admitted that – with the help of Landis – he coordinated drug deals via phone calls, text messages, and apps. The pair admitted to selling meth, heroin, and other drugs for money.

United States Attorney for the Southern District of California Robert Brewer’s office shared one of those messages last year: a Sept. 7, 2018, text sent by Landis.

"I have bomb dark [heroin] you should try and I got [narcotics] and even some really bomb blue [methamphetamine] - the real deal," the text read. "And bomb kush [marijuana] too. If u want to stop by here on ur way up let me know. I am gonna be heading down to sports arena a minute so if u aren’t leaving just yet I can swing by there."

Rob Lorifice is a professional skateboarder from San Diego's North County and is now facing federal criminal drug charges. NBC 7's Steven Luke has more on the raid that led to his arrest.

According to a criminal complaint against Lorifice obtained by NBC 7 in January 2019,  the pro skater was arrested during a Sept. 26, 2018, raid by deputies with the San Diego County Sheriff's Department at his home in Encinitas. Landis was arrested that day, too, as well as a third person inside the home by the name of Tom Herbert.

In their plea agreements, Lorifice and Landis confessed that when that search warrant was executed, Lorifice didn’t answer the door. Instead, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Lorifice flushed an unknown amount of blue meth and other drugs down a toilet and sink in the bathroom of his master bedroom.

Investigators found the couple upstairs, trying to flush the narcotics down the toilet.

Next to the toilet, officers found a "small blue chunk of a crystalline substance" and, near the sink, sat a plastic baggie with a "golf ball-sized chunk of a white crystalline substance," according to the complaint. 

In addition, deputies found several hundred Xanax pills, an ounce of heroin, and an ounce of meth inside an open safe in one of Lorifice’s closets. Inside a safe in the other closet was a stack of money and a passport.

Scattered throughout the master bedroom of Lorifice’s home, deputies retrieved small plastic baggies, Roxicodone pills, Xanax, marijuana, mushrooms, packing materials, as well as a digital scale.

In all, deputies seized 231.6 grams of heroin, 193 grams of meth, 196 grams of marijuana, and $16,824 from the skateboarder's home.

Three other people were found in separate rooms inside Lorifice's home during that September 2018 raid. Two of the unidentified people, according to the federal complaint, admitted to buying meth from Lorifice and using drugs inside the house.

Herbert was arrested in a third bedroom. In that room, officers found heroin, Xanax, and a bundle of cash with Herbert’s name on it.

In an interview following his arrest, Lorifice denied selling the drugs, stating that "the narcotics [were] left at his house by someone...and he was afraid to get rid of them," the federal complaint said.

Brewer’s office last year also detailed another bust involving Lorifice and Landis.

On Dec. 14, 2018 – while the skateboarder was out on bail on a state case – investigators raided his Encinitas home for a second time and, again, Lorifice was caught trying to get rid of drugs.

As officials executed that second search warrant, Lorifice tried to flush a “tennis ball-sized chunk of methamphetamine” down the toilet of the bathroom in his master bedroom.

Again, Landis was found in the master bedroom with Lorifice. The couple was found with about 31 grams of black tar heroin, 18 grams of meth, a digital scale, pills and $10,926 in cash, Brewer’s office said.

Lorifice and Landis admitted the cash found at Lorifice’s home during both raids "were proceeds from drug trafficking and was also currency they intended to use to facilitate their drug- trafficking activities."

Lorifice rose to the top ranks of professional vert skating.

According to news reports, the Encinitas native was a local at the Magdalena Ecke YMCA skatepark since he was 6 years old, turning pro in his sport at the age of 16.

Lorifice grew up watching Ecke locals Tony Hawk and Andy MacDonald skate the vert ramp. He soon followed in their footsteps, and by the time Lorifice was 22, he had won four X Games medals for vert and on the MegaRamp.

"It’s unfortunate that a public figure who is admired by kids chose to travel down this road," Brewer said in a press release in September 2019. "We have a very big methamphetamine problem in our county right now, plus a nationwide opioid epidemic is raging, and we are going after anyone who sells the poison that is destroying lives and families and communities."

Stefano L. Molea, who represented Lorifice during his guilty plea in 2019, sent this statement to NBC 7 last year on behalf of his client:

"Mr. Lorifice has made mistakes and has learned from them. He has worked on himself and has emerged a better and stronger person who is eager to live a productive and law-abiding life while teaching others in the skateboarding community about the dangers of drug use."

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