Hubbards sailboat captain receives 13 bail after being caught smuggling cocaine

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It was a potential gain of more than $ 500,000 that motivated a Canadian sailboat captain to smuggle 250 kilograms of cocaine into Nova Scotia from a small Caribbean island, a judge said on Friday as ‘he sentenced Jacques John Grenier to 13 years in prison.

“It was just greed, Mr. Grenier, outright,” Provincial Court Judge Gregory Lenehan told the 69-year-old.

An expert testified that the drug – likely purchased from a Mexican drug cartel – had an estimated market value of $ 20 million.

“Sunset years” to spend in prison

Grenier, who moved to Nova Scotia in 2015 and was unemployed, had previously pleaded guilty to two counts: possession for the purpose of trafficking cocaine and importing cocaine. A third charge, conspiracy to import cocaine, was withdrawn.

A Canada Border Services Agency officer inspects the Quesera sailboat at East River Marine in Hubbards, Nova Scotia on Friday, September 8, 2017. (Andrew Vaughan / The Canadian Press)

Lenehan said he took Grenier’s age into account, his guilty pleas and the fact that he is battling skin cancer. But the judge said a double-digit sentence was needed to deter others from using Nova Scotia’s rugged coastline as a “soft target” for drug traffickers.

“You are coming into your sunset years,” Lenehan told Grenier, a tall, thin man with a swarm of surgical scars above his left eye. “You don’t have 30 or 40 years left.”

Grenier, a resident of Hubbards, Nova Scotia, was arrested late September 3 after officers from the Canada Border Services Agency boarded his 9.7-meter sailboat Quesera at a small marina near from Halifax. The court heard that Grenier had sailed solo on the ship on the Dutch side of Sint Maarten, an island east of the Virgin Islands.

Bricks of cocaine stashed in the bed frame

Officers found cocaine bricks hidden under a sealed bed frame in the forward sleeping quarters of the Canadian registered vessel. The RCMP were called, Grenier was arrested and more cocaine was found hidden in the boat.

The judge concluded that Grenier was one of the “intermediaries” in the smuggling operation.

However, federal Crown Attorney Glen Scheuer argued that Grenier was in fact a trusted member of an organized crime ring, noting that Grenier admitted he was responsible for the cartel’s payment for drugs and that he was the only person on board the sailboat when it left the Caribbean.

In an agreed statement of facts, the court heard that Grenier purchased the boat after moving to Nova Scotia and then sailed to Sint Maarten in August 2016.

Canada Border Services Agency officers remove waterlogged equipment from the Quesera sailboat at East River Marine in Hubbards, Nova Scotia on Friday, September 8, 2017. (Andrew Vaughan / Canadian Press)

Grenier admitted to picking up the cocaine from a fishing boat off the coast of Venezuela last August, then returned to Sint Maarten, where he picked up provisions for the trip back to Nova Scotia.

Earlier in the hearing, RCMP drug expert Joseph Tomeo said the drugs were packaged in different colors of plastic wrap and each color had a different level of purity. Tomeo said the cocaine was mixed with other ingredients, which suggested the drugs were coming from different labs.

He said this practice is common in Mexico, in contrast to Colombian labs, which typically produce more than 80% pure cocaine.

The cartel had a “high level of trust” in Grenier

Tomeo, a former staff sergeant who worked in the RCMP’s anti-drug unit in Montreal for more than 25 years, said the amount of cocaine Grenier was carrying indicated he had close contact within the cartel.

“It shows a high level of confidence in the individual,” Tomeo said. “And it is extremely rare that this is done alone.”

However, Tomeo later told defense attorney Patrick MacEwen that there was no direct evidence that Grenier had done this sort of thing before, although the seasoned sailor admitted to crossing paths with smugglers. drugs while traveling abroad.

Grenier’s conviction has been repeatedly delayed because he underwent surgery and changed lawyers. His sentence was reduced by one year because he had already spent eight months in detention.

A Quebecer, Luc Chevrefils, is also indicted in this case. He is due to be tried in August.


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