Canadian involved in cross-border drug ring that used helicopters pleads guilty in U.S.

SEATTLE -- A Canadian man pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge Monday for his involvement in a ring that used low-flying helicopters to smuggle cocaine and marijuana across the U.S.

See Full Article

border in 2008 and 2009.

Sean William Doak entered the plea in U.S. District Court in Seattle after fighting extradition for years.

Under the terms of his plea deal, prosecutors and his lawyer agreed to recommend a prison term of seven to eight years, though the judge is not bound to follow that.

Investigators say the conspiracy was headed by Colin Hugh Martin, who has yet to be brought to the U.S. to face prosecution. His attorney, Peter Camiel, said Monday it isn't clear if or when Martin might be extradited.

At the time, Martin was out on bail pending an appeal of his sentence for an earlier smuggling operation involving his father and brother. He nevertheless managed to use a front company registered in his wife's name to lease helicopters that were used to ferry loads of marijuana and MDMA south to remote forests in Washington state and northern Idaho, and shipments of cocaine back into British Columbia.

In a 2009 interview with The Associated Press, Martin acknowledged obtaining the helicopters: "Sure, I have a past, but those charges were a decade ago," he said. "If you have the money and you want to get into a helicopter business, you can -- doesn't matter who that individual is."

One participant told authorities they brought more than 650 pounds of cocaine into Canada every week. The cocaine was typically driven from the Los Angeles area.

One pilot, 24-year-old Sam Lindsay-Brown, committed suicide in the Spokane County Jail after he flew into a setup and was met by DEA agents in early 2009.


Latest Canada & World News

  • Multiple police forces probe southwestern Ontario deaths

    Canada News CBC News
    Ontario Provincial Police say they will provide an update this morning on an investigation into multiple deaths spanning several southwestern Ontario communities and police jurisdictions. The provincial police will hold a media conference at 10 a.m. Source
  • Vatican: No more scattering of cremation ashes

    World News CTV News
    VATICAN CITY -- The Vatican on Tuesday published guidelines for Catholics who want to be cremated, saying their remains cannot be scattered, divvied up or kept at home but rather stored in a sacred, church-approved place. Source
  • Police deployed in Calais amid influx of young migrants

    World News CTV News
    PARIS -- French police are being deployed to keep order among the young migrants pushing barriers at Calais' makeshift camp. Dozens of migrants jumped over railings Tuesday in an attempt to get to the camp's temporary processing centre, the first step to being relocated in France. Source
  • Iraqi forces battle Islamic State militants in town far from Mosul

    World News CTV News
    BAGHDAD -- Iraqi forces, backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, battled Islamic State militants for a third day on Tuesday in a remote western town, hundreds of kilometres to the south of the operation to retake Mosul, U.S. Source
  • Evicting migrants: Calais' never-ending operation

    World News CBC News
    French authorities may hope the ongoing evictions of the Calais refugee camp known as the "jungle" will be a permanent solution, but history has shown the area in northern France to be a magnet for migrants. Source
  • Family of slain B.C. girl Reena Virk reacts to news of killer's prison pregnancy

    Canada News CTV News
    VICTORIA -- Family members of a teenage girl who was viciously beaten and drowned on Vancouver Island nearly two decades ago say they wish their relative's killer well after a news report that she is pregnant in prison. Source
  • Dennis Oland could be released on bail today to await new trial

    Canada News CBC News
    Dennis Oland will be back before the New Brunswick Court of Appeal this morning for a bail hearing after his second-degree murder conviction in the 2011 death of his father, Richard, was overturned on Monday. A three-justice panel has ordered a new trial, citing the trial judge's "fundamentally flawed" instructions to the jurors last fall on how they should deal with Oland's incorrect statement to Saint John police about what jacket he was wearing on the night his father was killed. Source
  • Tofino, B.C. marks anniversary of Leviathan II tragedy

    Canada News CTV News
    VICTORIA - One year ago today, a whale-watching vessel sank off British Columbia's coast, tossing 27 people into the churning Pacific. Five Britons and one Australian died when the 20-metre Leviathan II capsized in waters near Tofino, located about 320 kilometres northwest of Victoria. Source
  • Here's how much food Walmart throws away over 12 days

    Canada News CBC News
    Doughnuts and pastries. Stalks of still-crunchy celery. Bags of bright, plump oranges. It sounds like a shopping list, but it was all in Walmart's garbage. CBC's Marketplace went through trash bins at two Walmart stores near Toronto to see how much food the company throws away. Source
  • Child benefit rules failing to keep pace with changing families, think-tank says

    Canada News CBC News
    The head of the Vanier Institute of the Family, a Canadian think-tank based in Ottawa, says the federal government needs to update its policies when it comes to the way it awards family benefits. Nora Spinks's comments come after an Ottawa father complained to CBC News that he had to get permission from his spouse in order to collect the Canada child benefit payments for his biological children. Source