Saturday, July 29, 2017

Canadian with cocaine on plane pleads guilty

The pilot who landed a Canada-bound plane loaded with 290 pounds of cocaine in Athens County faces up to 11 years and three months in prison.

Sylvain Desjardins had faced a statutory sentence of 10 years to life in prison before pleading guilty Friday in federal court in Columbus. He now faces a minimum of nine years in prison.

He admitted making the emergency landing at Ohio University’s Gordon K. Bush Airport on March 29 after developing engine trouble over southern Ohio.

He pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley to possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute.

Desjardins also agreed to forfeit the plane, a 1969 twin-engine Piper Navajo that he owns, to the federal government.

Desjardin, 48, and a passenger, David Ayotte, 46, were headed to Montreal with the drugs when one of the plane’s engines began smoking.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection had tracked the aircraft after it left the Bahamas and saw the plane divert to the OU airport. The plane was destined for Ontario, Canada, officials said.

The plane was met at the airport by Athens County sheriff’s deputies, OU police officers and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

The plane had made other flights between the Bahamas and Ontario, according to records based on the tail number.

The Montreal Gazette reported that both men have prior drug convictions in Canada.

Ayotte pleaded guilty to the same drug charge in May. A sentencing date will be set for both after a presentence investigation is done. The men will serve their time in a U.S. prison and then likely be deported to Canada, authorities said.

Both are from Mirabel, a suburb of Montreal, according to court documents.

http://www.dispatch.com

No comments: