Monday, June 5, 2017

300 Pounds of Cocaine Seized from Canada-Bound Aircraft in Ohio - Update II

Sylvain Desjardins, 48, the pilot of the small Piper aircraft, filed his guilty plea last week. David Ayotte, 46, is expected to plead guilty in person. Both men admit they “knowingly and willingly” possessed cocaine with the intent to distribute. They face a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence because of the quantity of the cocaine involved. The maximum sentence is life in prison.

One week after Desjardins and Ayotte were arrested in Ohio, Montreal police arrested 11 people and carried out 21 search warrants in Montreal, Laval, Lachute and Ste-Agathe-des-Monts as part of Project Affliction, an investigation into a drug trafficking network that supplied cocaine to the Montreal Mafia and the Hells Angels.
Traffickers linked to the Lebanese underworld and the Hells Angels have just been cut off after losing a cargo of 132 kg of cocaine in the United States, where one of their pilots made an emergency landing. Police of the anti-gang section of the SPVM dismantled the criminal organization based in Montreal and Laval, making 11 arrests under project 'Affliction'.

This group supplied part of the cocaine sold by the Hells Angels and the Italian mafia in the Greater Montreal area, and assumed the risk of transporting drugs into Quebec through the air. Police believe the organization used private aircraft and pilots from the Dominican Republic. They were selling an average of two kilograms of cocaine a day and collecting $ 3 million in monthly revenue.
Two Quebec residents are in custody facing federal drug charges after the pair attempted to transport nearly 300 pounds of cocaine in a Canada-bound Piper Navajo.
David Ayotte (left) & Sylvain Desjardins
The probe was launched after U.S. Customs and Border Protection assisted with an aircraft about to land illegally in the United States. While in flight, the Canada-bound aircraft diverted its flight path and landed unauthorized at KUNI Ohio University Airport due to 'mechanical problems'.

Investigators found 132 bundles, each weighing about 1 kilogram.

Daniel Poulin, Jean Saoumaa, Jihad Saoumaa, Tony George Saoumaa, Michel Jacques and Martin Lauzon.
An operation carried out last week produced the arrests of 11 people and the seizure of 42 firearms and four crossbows. Thirty-five kilograms of cocaine were also seized. Accounting records indicted the network was able to move 180 kilograms over the course of 90 days.

Six of the 11 arrested appeared before a judge at the Montreal courthouse. That includes Jean Saoumaa, a 57-year-old Laval owner of a clothing company who was fined more than $800,000 in 2009 after he pleaded guilty to tax fraud by using fake receipts to reduce the tax burden of companies he owned. Jean and Jihad Saoumaa, 25, also of Laval, are charged with possession of a drug with the intent to traffic.