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

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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

It costs as little as $7 to charge an EV at home. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Electric Vehicles a rare sight (in the Kootenays), but change on the way

Electric pickups will increase the appeal of zero-emission vehicles in years to come according to Blair Qualey of the New Car Dealers Association

Linda Krawczyk and her dad Doug Finney enjoyed a ride around beautiful Fernie on Friday thanks to Melanie Wrigglesworth and the local chapter of Cycling Without Age. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Cycling Without Age goes for its first spin

Doug Finney (86) got to enjoy a ride around Fernie

The Cranbrook Community Forest is good to go for mountain biking. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Snow’s done, time to hit the trails

South Country trails are good to go

Interior Health nurses administer Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News)
69 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The total number of cases in the region is now at 9,840 since the pandemic began

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

Local carpenter Tyler Bohn embarked on a quest to create the East Sooke Treehouse, after seeing people build similar structures on a Discovery Channel show. (East Sooke Treehouse Facebook photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. carpenter builds fort inspired by TV’s ‘Treehouse Masters’

The whimsical structure features a wooden walking path, a loft, kitchen – and is now listed on Airbnb

The Attorney General’s Ministry says certain disputes may now be resolved through either a tribunal or the court system, pending its appeal of a B.C. Supreme Court decision that reduced the tribunal’s jurisdiction. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Court of Appeal grants partial stay in ruling on B.C. auto injuries

B.C. trial lawyers challenged legislation brought in to cap minor injury awards and move smaller court disputes to the Civil Resolution Tribunal

Most Read