PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. - A federal jury on Thursday found Michel Perreault, 48, of Laval, Quebec, guilty of attempted importation of marijuana and possession with intent to distribute marijuana. The case was investigated U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
Perreault was arrested on Feb. 16, 2011, after he was discovered to be driving a rental car loaded with approximately 44 pounds of marijuana while attempting to enter the United States at the Champlain Port of Entry. The marijuana was packed into the vehicle's frame and was detected during a 7-point inspection after Perreault was referred for a secondary inspection. While the defense asserted that Perreault was unaware of the marijuana he was transporting, the jury issued guilty verdicts on both counts after only 40 minutes of deliberation.
"HSI and our federal law enforcement partners are determined to disrupt the flow of drugs into the United States," said Lev J. Kubiak, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Buffalo. "HSI has and will continue to utilize its broad authorities to target those individuals that thumb their noses at the law and pose direct threats to our communities."
Perreault faces a maximum penalty of up to five years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, or both, and a period of at least two years supervised release up to life to follow any term of imprisonment on Count 1 of the indictment, and a maximum penalty of up to five years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, or both, and a period of at least two years supervised release up to life to follow any term of imprisonment on Count 2.
Perreault is in U.S. Marshals' custody and is scheduled to be sentenced in August 2011.