US: 27 Years Prison Sentence for ‘King of Pot’
A New York federal court has sentenced Jimmy Cournoyer, a 34-year-old Canadian citizen known as the “King of Pot”, to 27 years in prison. Prosecutors said that Cournoyer's criminal network distributed at least $1 billion in illegal drugs over his 14-year career.
The Canadian National Post reports that throughout that career, Cournoyer smuggled an estimated 109 tons of marijuana into the United States.
Cournoyer was sentenced on Aug. 20. He pled guilty to leading a criminal enterprise; conspiracies to manufacture, import and distribute marijuana; conspiracies to export and distribute cocaine; substantive cocaine distribution and conspiracy to launder the proceeds of narcotics trafficking, according to the US Department of Justice.
His Montreal-based drug distribution organization had ties with the Rizutto and Bonanno crime families, the Hells Angels and the Sinaloa Cartel, trafficking more than US$ 1 billion worth of marijuana, ecstasy and cocaine into the US between 1998 and 2012.
Since 2007, Canadian and US law enforcement investigating the network seized hundreds of pounds of marijuana, 83 kilograms of cocaine, 60,000 MDMA pills, firearms and ammunition, more than 800 marijuana plants and nearly US$ 11,000,000 in narcotics proceeds, leading to more than 100 defendants pleading guilty to narcotics trafficking charges.
Tens of thousands of pounds of marijuana, manufactured by outdoor growers in British Columbia, were transported to Cournoyer’s warehouses in Montreal. The marijuana was smuggled into the US by Hells Angels and Native American co-conspirators from the Akwesasne Mohawk Reservation, which is located along the US-Canada border.
Investigators say the drugs were distributed by the New York-based Bonanno crime family, and the profits were used to buy cocaine from the Mexican Sinaloa Cartel. The Rizzuto crime family would then export and distribute cocaine into Canada.
United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Loretta E. Lynch, said, “Jimmy Cournoyer used Native American Reservations to violate the security of our national borders and smuggled more than $1 billion worth of deadly narcotics and firearms between the United States, Canada and Mexico. His territory: all of North America. His goal: to extend the deadly narcotics trade as far as he could and eliminate those who might think of assisting law enforcement.”
Charges against Cournoyer also include witness tampering. To prevent anyone cooperating with law enforcement, he set up a US$ 2 million “hit fund” to murder or otherwise retaliate against informers or turncoats.
Cournoyer is also known under the nicknames “Cosmo” and “Superman”. The National Post said he had lived an extravagant lifestyle, drove luxurious cars, had a professional model girlfriend and frequently hosted lavish parties.