Music

Ex-Autolux Member Eugene Goreshter Arrested in 2019 for Attempting to Import Cocaine From Mexico

Ex-Autolux Member Eugene Goreshter Arrested in 2019 for Attempting to Import Cocaine From Mexico

The band’s former bassist and vocalist hasn’t been a member since 2016, Carla Azar and Greg Edwards say

Eugene Goreshter performing with Autolux at Coachella 2016

Eugene Goreshter, April 2016 (Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Coachella)

Eugene Goreshter, the one-time bassist and vocalist of experimental rock group Autolux, pleaded guilty in 2019 for attempting to import nearly 30 kilograms of cocaine to the United States from Mexico, according to court records obtained by Pitchfork. Goreshter, who was arrested that year and released from Federal Bureau of Prisons custody last year, is currently subject to a five-year supervised release.

Multiple attempts to reach Goreshter were unsuccessful. The attorney who represented Goreshter in this case declined to share comment or provide contact information, citing client confidentiality.

Goreshter has not been a member of Autolux since 2016, the band revealed publicly for the first time to Pitchfork. Formerly a trio, Autolux’s lineup is currently guitarist-vocalist Greg Edwards (also of alt-rockers Failure) and drummer-vocalist Carla Azar (a session musician who has backed Jack White, Boygenius, Tegan and Sara, and the Who). “We have no comment to make at this time, and Eugene is no longer in Autolux,” a statement from the band’s representative reads. “Please respect Carla and Greg’s privacy on this matter.”

According to a federal complaint, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers searched a 2015 Jeep Cherokee belonging to Goreshter when he attempted to pass through the San Ysidro border crossing into San Diego, California, from Tijuana, Mexico, on the evening of August 16, 2019. An officer noticed a spare tire in the back of his vehicle “that did not match the size of a normal spare tire,” the complaint reads. The officer also noticed the tire was “unusually heavy.”

Goreshter’s Jeep was referred to a secondary search, during which officers found 21 packages hidden inside the spare tire. The contents of the packages tested positive for cocaine. The combined weight of the cocaine was 29.22 kilograms or 64.41 pounds, according to the complaint.

Homeland Security officers then interviewed Goreshter. According to the complaint, during questioning, he admitted to making an agreement with an “unknown individual” in Tijuana to bring the drugs to the United States in exchange for $5,000.

Goreshter was charged with one felony count of importation of cocaine in an amount exceeding five kilograms. After originally entering a plea of not guilty, he struck a plea agreement in which he admitted to “knowingly and intentionally” driving a vehicle with “approximately 29.22 kilograms of cocaine” in it from Mexico into the United States and pleaded guilty to the charge. His guilty plea was accepted at the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on December 9, 2019.

In September 2020, Goreshter was sentenced to two years of imprisonment with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons, followed by five years of supervised release. He was ordered to surrender into custody no later than January 6, 2021. In sentencing Goreshter, U.S. District Judge Cynthia Bashant recommended to the Bureau of Prisons that he be enrolled in the Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP), available to inmates with substance use disorders in the 12 months before their arrest.

RDAP graduates convicted of nonviolent offenses can have their sentences reduced—in the case of someone sentenced to 30 months or less like Goreshter, by up to six months. Bureau records show he was released on June 30, 2022, or about six months before his imprisonment term would have ended under the original sentence.

According to a sentencing document, Goreshter’s five-year term of supervised release includes stipulations that he not enter Mexico without approval from authorities, that he live at a place approved by a probation officer, and that he enroll in drug or alcohol abuse treatment. He must also notify a probation officer of all vehicles he owns or operates.

Autolux’s last show with Goreshter, also the band’s most recent live performance, was a September 2016 set in San Diego, according to Bandsintown. In addition to Autolux, Goreshter previously performed on Nine Inch Nails’ 2013 album, Hesitation Marks, and guested alongside his former bandmates on two albums by English electronic group Unkle (2007’s War Stories and 2010’s Where Did the Night Fall).

Autolux, signed to Danger Mouse’s Columbia Records imprint, 30th Century, have in recent weeks been teasing on Instagram that new material is in the works. Only Edwards and Azar have been featured in the social media posts.

Records of Autolux’s Twitter account by the Internet Archive show the band quietly removed Goreshter’s name from their Twitter bio at some point between May 2020 and April 2022. In February 2022, when Goreshter was serving his prison sentence, the band updated their Facebook banner image with a picture that includes him. It remained there as of the time of this story’s publication. Last month, Azar posted a clip of the group’s 2016 set at Lollapalooza in Chicago on Instagram, featuring herself and Goreshter.

“[Autolux] is definitely not complete,” said Edwards, in a November 2021 interview with The Vinyl Guide podcast, when asked about the band’s future. “There’s more coming for sure. I’m working with Carla and we have a lot of really, really interesting stuff, we’re finding it now but there will be more for sure.” He did not mention Goreshter.

Goreshter and Azar met while collaborating on an experimental live score for a 1997 Los Angeles production of the late Italian playwright Dario Fo’s Accidental Death of an Anarchist. Before Goreshter’s exit, Azar and Edwards handled lead vocals on Autolux’s most recent studio album, 2016’s Pussy’s Dead. Previously, Goreshter—who played synthesizer in addition to bass—sang lead on several songs on 2010’s Transit Transit and the majority of the songs on the band’s 2004 debut, Future Perfect.

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