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Canadian sentenced to life for marijuana smuggling in U.S.

Pot smuggling duo

In August, federal U.S. court in Syracuse convicted Gaetan “Gates” Dinelle, 42 and Michael “Mickey” Woods, 45, both of Cornwall, Ont., of running a multimillion-dollar marijuana-trafficking operation, smuggling pot from Canada into northern New York state from where it was distributed to buyers all over the eastern U.S.

They were convicted of multiple U.S. federal felony drug charges and Woods was sentenced to life on Jan. 14 and now Dinelle has received the same sentence. They had been found guilty after a six-day trial by jury. For the trial, 15 people were extradited from Canada to America, including Dinelle and Woods.

At trial, the two were found to have ran the ring between at least 2005 and 2008 and received as much as $10 million for the marijuana they sold. They acquired the pot in Canada and moved it into the U.S. through Akwesasne, the Mohawk Nation territory that straddles the border of Canada and the U.S.

Marijuana into U.S.

Prosecutors said that Dinelle and Woods planned to move in total 10 tonnes (22,000 pounds) of marijuana, that could have amounted to $47 million in income.

At Woods’ sentencing his lawyer, Albert Millus, said there was little direct evidence linking the two men to the smuggling and that, in any case, a life-sentence was excessive punishment for a crime involving pot.

“The conspiracy involved only marijuana,” Millus told the court in a brief. “Not more devastating drugs such as heroin, crack cocaine or powder cocaine.” He noted this all has taken place at a time when U.S. states are either legalizing marijuana or moving toward legalizing marijuana.

Both Dinelle and Woods have indicated they will appeal.

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