Two charged with possession of cocaine after landing at OU airport


By Sarah Hawley - shawley@civitasmedia.com



ALBANY — Two Canadian men are facing federal charges following the unauthorized landing of an international aircraft at Ohio University’s Gordon K. Bush Airport on Wednesday from which a large amount of alleged cocaine was reportedly seized.

According to a criminal complaint and affidavit filed in United States District Court, Southern District, Eastern Division of Ohio on Thursday, Sylvain Desjardins and David Ayotte, both of Mirabel, Canada, are charged with possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine.

During the search of the plane, agents and officers discovered 132 bundles, weighing approximately one kilogram each of an unknown substance. The bundles were located in the tail of the aircraft. Three of the packages were subsequently opened and found to contain a white powdery substance which tested positive for cocaine in a field test, according to the affidavit.

One hundred thirty-two kilograms of cocaine is approximately 291 pounds.

The affidavit in support of the complaint states that on March 29 US Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations Center in Riverside, California, detected an aircraft 18 miles north of Grand Bahama International, Bahamas, with a flight plan to Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

The aircraft was observed diverting to OU airport, which is not a port of entry. The pilot alleged to be having mechanical issues with the plane. Desjardins was identified as the owner and pilot of the plane.

Local authorities were notified around 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday of the plane landing without prior authorization.

Both Desjardins and Ayotte have prior convictions of drug offenses in Canada, according to the documents.

Police say the plane’s two occupants were detained by agents from Customs and Border Protection and taken to Columbus.

By Sarah Hawley

shawley@civitasmedia.com