January 21, 2016
Contact: Erin Mulvey
Phone Number: (212) 337-3900
Second Canadian Marijuana Trafficker Receives Life Sentence
PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. - Gaetan “Gates” Dinelle, age 42, of Cornwall, Ontario, was sentenced to life imprisonment for running a drug trafficking organization that made more than $10 million in profits in a single year.
The announcement was made by Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt, U.S. Drug Enforcement (DEA), New York Division and United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian, Northern District of New York.
Dinelle and co-defendant Michael C. “Mickey” Woods were convicted following a six-day jury trial in July 2015, which was presided over by Senior United States District Judge Norman A. Mordue. Judge Mordue sentenced Woods to life imprisonment on January 14, 2016.
The evidence at trial proved that Dinelle assisted Woods in running a vast international marijuana operation from Cornwall, Ontario, Canada, which operated from about 2005 until 2008. During the trial in federal court in Syracuse, witnesses testified that Woods procured large quantities of marijuana from his sources in Canada, and with Dinelle, arranged for it to be smuggled across the border into the United States. Couriers selected and supervised by Woods and Dinelle delivered the marijuana to buyers throughout the Eastern United States.
The prosecution of Dinelle, which began with an indictment in November 2008, involved the extradition of 15 people from Canada, including Woods and Dinelle, in one of the largest uses of the extradition treaty between the two countries in a single case.
DEA Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt stated, “Two defendants, Mickey Wood and Gaetan Dinelle, were both sentenced to life imprisonment within a week apart. These sentencings are indicative of the successful law enforcement collaboration entailed with the dismantlement of Mickey Woods’ multi-million dollar marijuana trafficking ring that operated on the Northern Border. I commend our Canadian, federal, state and local counterparts who worked on this investigation.”
“Gaetan Dinelle supervised a massive drug trafficking organization and, like his boss, Mickey Woods, was sentenced accordingly,” stated U.S. Attorney Richard S. Hartunian. “Our resolve to bring cross-border criminals to justice is reflected in this lengthy and successful case, which is the product of great cooperation between agencies on both sides of the border.”
Between 2006 and February 2008, law enforcement officers seized approximately $2 million dollars in currency representing proceeds of marijuana trafficking and approximately 400 (nearly 1,000 pounds) of marijuana from couriers working for Woods and Dinelle.
Evidence during the trial included law enforcement estimates that the Woods organization distributed more than 22,000 pounds of high-grade marijuana with gross wholesale receipts of approximately $47 million.
This case was investigated primarily by the Drug Enforcement Administration- Plattsburgh Resident Office and Homeland Security Investigations, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carl G. Eurenius. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs Acting Associate Director, Lisa Roberts, and former International Affairs Specialist Benjamin Kurland provided significant assistance throughout the extradition stage of the prosecution.