Acting United States Attorney Andrew T. Baxter and Special-Agent-in-Charge John P. Gilbride of the Drug Enforcement Administration announced the unsealing the indictment charging 34 individuals with participation in an international marijuana trafficking organization.
The group was headed by 38-year-old Mickey Woods of Cornwall, Ontario, Canada. Between 2005 and 2008, the Woods drug trafficking organization smuggled approximately 10,000 kilograms of Canadian marijuana through the St. Regis Mohawk Indian Reservation for distribution in various cities in the eastern United States. During the course of the investigation, approximately 400 kilograms of marijuana and over $2 million in drug proceeds were seized from various members of the Woods organization.
Today, nine defendants were arrested in New York and elsewhere. Efforts to apprehend and/or extradite Canadian defendants will be commenced shortly if they do not make prompt arrangements to surrender to U.S. authorities.
DEA Special-Agent-in-Charge Gilbride stated: "This investigation shines a spotlight on the enormous profits reaped by drug dealers from the cultivation, smuggling, and sale of marijuana. From Northern New York to as far south as Atlanta, Georgia this trafficking organization distributed Canadian marijuana, generating approximately $45 million of narco-dollars along the way. Law enforcement has caught up to these traffickers, seized their drugs and illegal proceeds, shut down their operation, and put them out of business."
Acting United States Attorney Baxter noted: “This was one of many joint investigations of the smuggling of Canadian marijuana by criminal organizations that exploit the Akwesasne because of its unique position straddling the remote land/water border between the Northern District of New York and the Provinces of Quebec and Ontario. I commend the federal, state, local, tribal, and Canadian law enforcement agencies which, with the cooperation of the law-abiding citizens of the Akwesasne, have worked tirelessly to combat drug trafficking along our border with Canada.”
Charged in the indictment unsealed today were:
The nine-count indictment charges each defendant with conspiracies to distribute and possess with intent to distribute, and to import more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana. If convicted, the defendants face sentences of at least ten years and up to forty of imprisonment, and fines of up to $4,000,000.
Various defendants are charged in other conspiracy and substantive drug distribution counts. Mickey Wods and Gaetan Dinelle of Cornwall, Ontario are charged with leading a continuing criminal enterprise; if convicted as charged, each faces a mandatory term of life imprisonment. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of $45 million dollars of illegal drug proceeds.