Canadian Gets Life in US Prison for Huge Pot Smuggling Ring Through Mohawk Territory

Officials said the ring stored large amounts of marijuana on the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation before enlisting couriers to take it across the border. The weed was said to be destined mostly for Boston, and as far away as Atlanta.
January 15, 2016, 6:25pm
Photo by Anthony Tuccitto/VICE News

A 45-year-old Ontario man who ran a marijuana ring that smuggled Canadian pot into New York state, through a Mohawk reserve that straddles the border, has been sentenced to life in prison.

Michael "Mickey" Woods, also known as "Big Boss Man" and "Big Buddy", was sentenced in a Syracuse court on Thursday, the Canadian Press reported.

He and his co-defendant Gaetan Dinelle, both of Cornwall, Ontario, were convicted last year of running the cross-border operation out of their hometown from 2005 to 2008.

When they announced the bust in 2008, American law enforcement estimated the ring made as much as $45-million by smuggling 10 tons of marijuana into the United States. A total of 34 people were arrested at the time, 23 of them Canadians. Police at the time said they seized 400 kilograms of marijuana and over $2-million in drug proceeds from members of Woods' outfit.

Officials said the ring stored large amounts of marijuana on the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation before enlisting couriers to take it across the border. The weed was said to be destined mostly for Boston, and as far away as Atlanta.

"Akwesasne (St. Regis) has long been exploited by criminal organizations that are looking to smuggle narcotics because of its unique position straddling the border between the United States and Canada," acting US attorney Andrew Baxter said back in 2008.

Woods and Dinelle were ordered extradited by former federal justice minister Peter MacKay in 2013. Woods and Dinelle had been charged with leading a continuing criminal enterprise, which carries a mandatory term of life imprisonment. The indictment also sought forfeiture of $45 million dollars of illegal drug proceeds.

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