August 05, 2015
Contact: Erin Mulvey
Phone Number: (212) 337-3900
Continuing Criminal Enterprise No More, Jury Trial Convicts Pair Of Defendants
Offenders face mandatory life sentences for their leadership roles in the marijuana conspiracy
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt, U.S. Drug Enforcement (DEA), New York Division, along with United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian, are pleased to announce that following a six day trial, a jury in the Northern District of New York convicted Canadian citizens Michael C. Woods, (“Woods”) and Gaetan (“Dinelle”) of multiple federal felony drug charges.
The jury found that both defendants were participants in three separate but related conspiracies that all involved 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana: (1) conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute [Count 1]; (2) importation into the United States from Canada [Count 2], (3) distribution in Canada, knowing or intending for the unlawful importation thereafter into the United States [Count 3]. The jury also found that both defendants engaged in, and further, were principal administrators, leaders, and organizers of continuing criminal (“CCE”) which received more than $10,000,000 in a single year of the enterprises’ existence [Count 9].
As a result of the CCE conviction, both defendants face mandatory life imprisonment. Sentencing is currently scheduled for December 8, 2015, in front of Senior U.S. District Judge Norman A. Mordue.
The evidence at trial proved the existence of an international marijuana trafficking organization headed by Michael C. Woods and Gaetan Dinelle of Cornwall, Ontario, Canada. Woods, assisted by Dinelle, ran a vast marijuana operation from Cornwall, Ontario, Canada, that operated from at least 2005 until 2008. Woods procured large quantities of marijuana from his sources in Canada and, with the assistance of Dinelle, smuggled the marijuana into the United States, where it was temporarily stored at various locations on the Akwesasne Mohawk Indian Reservation. From there, using other co-conspirators, the marijuana was loaded into the trunks of vehicles and driven by couriers, or “runners,” selected and supervised by Woods and Dinelle, to buyers throughout the Eastern United States.
Between 2006 and February 2008, law enforcement seized approximately $2,000,000 of marijuana proceeds and approximately 400 kilograms of marijuana from numerous Woods and Dinelle couriers. Law enforcement authorities estimate the Woods organization distributed over 22,000 pounds of high-grade marijuana with estimated gross wholesale receipts of $47,300,000 during the life of the conspiracy, and the jury found that both Woods and Dinelle were principals of an enterprise that received more than $10,000,000 in any single year of its existence.
This prosecution in the United States followed an extradition request to Canada which resulted in the extradition of 15 individuals from Canada, including Michael Woods and Gaetan Dinelle.
The prosecution included trial testimony from agents, officers, and employees of the Drug Enforcement (DEA) and DEA Northeast Regional Laboratory; the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement; the New York State Police and New York State Police Forensic Investigation Center; the Massachusetts State Police and Massachusetts State Laboratory, the Warren County Sheriff’s Office, and the New Hampshire State Police Lab. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs also provided significant assistance, including Acting Associate Director Lisa Roberts and International Affairs Specialist Benjamin Kurland.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carl G. Eurenius. Further questions may be directed to Assistant United States Attorney Richard Southwick at 315-448-0672.