Thursday, May 18, 2017

Piper PA-31-310 Navajo, C-GNAV: Ohio University Airport (KUNI), Athens County, Ohio

The pilot of a Canadian plane loaded with 290 pounds of cocaine that was forced to land at Ohio University’s airport was sentenced Friday to eight years in prison.

Sylvain Desjardins, 48, could have faced a mandatory minimum of 12 years in prison had he not pleaded guilty.

U.S. District Judge Algenon A. Marbley considered Desjardins’ acceptance of responsibility when imposing sentence, Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Hunter said.

Desjardin must serve three years on supervised release after prison, during which he could be deported to Canada.

His co-defendant and passenger in the airplane, David Ayotte, 46, was sentenced to five years and three months in prison earlier this month.

Their plane was headed to Canada March 29 when it developed engine trouble and made an emergency landing at Ohio University’s Gordon K. Bush Airport. Authorities said the 132 bundles of cocaine had been stowed on one side of the aircraft, causing an engine to work harder and overheat while trying to keep the plane level.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection had been tracking the plane after it left the Bahamas and became suspicious when it diverted to the OU airport. The plane was destined for Ontario, Canada, officials said. The plane was met at the airport by Athens County deputies, university police officers and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

Both men, who are from Mirabel, a suburb of Montreal, pleaded guilty to possession with the intent to distribute cocaine. Desjardins also agreed to forfeit the plane, a 1969 twin-engine Piper Navajo, to the U.S. government.

Original article can be found here ➤

David Ayotte (left) & Sylvain Desjardins (right)

One of two Canadians aboard a plane that made an emergency landing at Ohio University’s airport with more than 290 pounds of cocaine aboard pleaded guilty Tuesday to a federal drug charge.

The plea agreement on behalf of David Ayotte, 45, was filed in the U.S. District Court in Columbus. The charge is possession with the intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, which carries a potential sentence of 10 years to life imprisonment and a fine up to $10 million.

Ayotte was aboard the plane with Sylvain Desjardins, 47, the pilot, on a March 29 trip from Grand Bahama Island to Windsor, Ontario. The two men are from Mirabel, a suburb of Montreal.

The aircraft experienced mechanical problems and the pair made an emergency landing at the Ohio University Gordon K. Bush Airport near Athens. That’s where they were intercepted by Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents along with campus and local law enforcement.

Under the agreement, Ayotte admits to the possession of cocaine with intent to distribute charge, court records show. He will later appear in U.S. District Court to formally enter his plea and will later be sentenced, said Michael Hunter, an assistant U.S. Attorney. Ayotte is being held in the Delaware County Jail.

The plea agreement does not say whether Ayotte will testify against the co-defendant, Desjardins, 47, who is also being held on a charge of one count of possession with the intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine. Desjardins has prior convictions in Canada for trafficking in heroin and marijuana.

Original article can be found here:

Here's where the cocaine had been hidden.
 From the Athens County Sheriff.

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