Colin Martin leaves the Kamloops Law Courts during a break in his extradition hearing in May 2014. ~ Kamloops This Week file photo

B.C. drug smuggler pleads guilty in U.S. court

Shuswap man admits to using helicopters to transport marijuana and cocaine across the border

On the eve of his trial in the United States, Colin Martin, a 46-year-old convicted drug smuggler from the Shuswap, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge for operating a drug ring that flew marijuana and other drugs into Washington state and returned with cocaine to sell in B.C.

Martin admitted to running the cross-border helicopter-based drug-smuggling ring after nearly 10 years of fighting his extradition to the U.S. He was set to stand trial on the charges in Seattle on Monday, March 26.

He now faces five to 40 years in prison, although the U.S. Attorney’s office said it would be recommending no more than 10 years in a U.S. jail.

Martin’s sentencing hearing is planned for June.

Related link: Accused Shuswap drug smuggler pleads not guilty in U.S. court

Martin, a married father of six, has already served time in jail on drug charges in Canada, related to the production of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking. This was connected to a large-scale marijuana growing operation located in an underground bunker on property adjacent to the property where he was residing in Malakwa, east of Sicamous. He was arrested in 2010 on that charge and was sentenced in 2014.

In 2007, Martin was also found guilty for his involvement in another cross-border drug smuggling operation in the late 1990s. He was convicted on eight counts, including conspiring to export marijuana, conspiring to traffic marijuana, possession of proceeds of crime and two counts of laundering.

Related link: Colin Martin pleads guilty to drug charges

As part of the U.S. case against Martin, prosecutors alleged Martin provided helicopters to transport drugs across the border.

On Feb. 23, 2009, one of those helicopters, flown by Samuel Lindsay-Brown from Canada into Washington State, was intercepted by U.S. authorities. Brown was found carrying a load of 420 lbs of marijuana. He’d allegedly intended to deliver the marijuana and pick up 84 kilograms of cocaine which had already been seized by authorities. Brown was arrested and, the following month, the 24-year-old committed suicide in a Spokane County Jail prison cell.

Alleged co-conspirator Sean Doak was extradited to the U.S. in 2015. He pleaded guilty to a count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana and, in 2016, was sentenced to seven years in prison.

Another alleged co-conspirator, Adam Serrano, was sentenced in the U.S. to three years in prison.

Related link: Accused Shuswap drug smuggler to be extradited

In June 2017, Martin appealed the 2014 extradition decision before the B.C. Court of Appeal. Court documents say Martin argued the justice minister’s decision to surrender him to the U.S. for prosecution was unreasonable because “she erred in finding the requesting state’s ‘outing’ him as a would-be informant was not an abuse of process.” It also argued that his incarceration in the U.S. would affect his mental health and his Métis heritage was not considered as part of the ruling.

In October, however, three B.C. Court of Appeal judges dismissed his appeal, discounting these arguments.

“The United States provided information regarding solitary confinement, a reality in both countries’ prison systems, and programs to address mental health concerns. It also advised that Mr. Martin’s Métis heritage can be considered at sentencing and that there are measures in place at the facility in which he is expected to be housed to accommodate his aboriginal background,” wrote Justice Gail Dickson in the decision.


@SalmonArm
newsroom@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Port Alberni Fire Department to be featured on Discovery Channel

Second season of Hellfire Heroes premieres Oct. 22

Port Alberni’s newest street gets Nuu-chah-nulth name

Process prompts review of pre-approved names

EJ Dunn Elementary School celebrates playground

MLA Scott Fraser cuts official ribbon, climbs with kids at Port Alberni play space

Port Alberni students meet federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh at rally

Singh posts trending video to TikTok, says reaching youth on their level is important

VIDEO: Saanich resident shocked when trespasser licks security camera, rummages through mail

‘I found the situation really bizarre,’ said the Gordon Head resident

Spotlight on B.C.: 12 races to watch on Election Day

Black Press Media presents a four-part series into how B.C. will affect the national outcome

Environment Canada issues gale warnings for western Vancouver Island

Gale warnings in effect for most of Vancouver Island and west coast Mainland

BC Ferries crew member taken to hospital after getting struck by bow doors

Two sailings between Horseshoe Bay and Departure Bay were cancelled

Greta Thunberg meets with First Nations chief in Fort McMurray

Thunberg has turned her protest against climate change into a global movement

Canucks hang on for 3-2 win over Rangers in New York

Vancouver scores three times in first period

More beef products recalled due to possible E. coli contamination

The food safety watchdog has been investigating possible E. coli 0157:H7

B.C. VIEWS: How to get the best deal on your ICBC car insurance

ICBC slowly being dragged into the 21st century

Most Read