Thursday, December 5, 2013
A Canadian man who worked undercover with federal authorities after being stopped in Maine last year as part of a conspiracy to smuggle about $300,000 worth of cocaine from Texas to Canada was sentenced Tuesday in federal court in Bangor to four years in prison.
Chad Hallett, 30, of Dieppe, New Brunswick, was under surveillance by federal authorities as he crossed the Canadian border into the United States on June 27, 2012, at the Maine port of entry in Houlton. State police stopped Hallett shortly afterward for speeding on Interstate 95 and found a box containing nearly $300,000 in cash in the trunk of the vehicle he was driving, according to court documents.
Hallett cooperated with investigators and revealed to them a plan he had with other members of a cocaine smuggling ring to spend time in casinos in Atlantic City, N.J., changing the money into larger denominations, then to travel to Houston, Texas, to purchase between 10 and 12 kilograms of cocaine to smuggle back through Maine to Canada, court records state.
Authorities subsequently charged other members of the ring, including another Canadian, 31-year-old Matthieu Le- Blanc, who was arrested June 28, 2012, in Atlantic City; Victor Charles, 32, of Bacliff, Texas; Robert Rossignol, 60, of Van Buren; and Apolinar Ortiz Islas, 42, of Houston, Texas.
Hallett pleaded guilty Aug. 9, 2012, in U.S. District Court in Bangor to a charge of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 10 or more kilograms of cocaine. Ortiz Islas, the accused cocaine supplier, was convicted by a federal jury in Bangor on the same charge earlier this month. The others have all pleaded guilty.
In addition to the prison term, Chief U.S. District Judge John A. Woodcock Jr. ordered the nearly $300,000 in cash that Hallett had in the vehicle to be forfeited to the United States. The other conspirators await sentencing.Scott Dolan can be reached at 791-6304 or at:firstname.lastname@example.orgTwitter: @scottddolan