Sentences for marijuana smugglers

Posted Oct. 02, 2008, at 10:15 p.m.
Last modified March 20, 2011, at 5:55 a.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A Canadian couple arrested in January who admitted to smuggling hundreds of pounds of marijuana across the border and delivering it to out-of-state customers were sentenced Wednesday to about two years in federal prison.

Andy Michaud, 29, was sentenced to 27 months. His girl-friend and co-conspirator, Yvonne Katherine Byram, 44, was sentenced to 20 months. Both lived in Notre Dame de Lourdes, New Brunswick.

U.S. District Judge John Woodcock sentenced the pair to three years of supervised release after they complete their prison terms. Most likely, each will be returned to Canada and barred from re-entering the United States after being released.

Byram waived indictment and pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute marijuana. Michaud waived indictment and pleaded guilty to the same charge in April. Both have been held without bail since their arrests. They are expected to be credited with time served.

Both faced a minimum sentence of five years and a maximum of 40 years in prison along with a fine of up to $2 million. Under the federal sentencing guideline range, according to court documents, Byram, a single mother of two, faced between 30 and 37 months in federal prison.

Documents sealed by the judge until the end of January 2009 might explain why they received lesser sentences than the mandatory minimum or sentences within the guideline range.

Michaud and Byram were stopped on Jan. 6 by U.S. Border Patrol agents working near Caswell after discovering evidence of unauthorized crossings in the area. Agents followed a Mazda pickup to Limestone after it was spotted driving up and down a road along the border with just the driver inside, but later with a passenger.

Although both defendants first told investigators they had crossed the border legally at Van Buren, Michaud had fresh snow on his pants and at his feet, according to court documents. The agent also saw two backpacks and snow in the back seat.

Both later said they had been smuggling marijuana across the border for four or five months. Michaud would pick up the marijuana packed in hockey bags or backpacks and walk into Maine at wooded areas along the border. Byram would cross into the U.S. in the truck and pick him up.

Michaud told agents he and Byram had delivered 100-pound loads of marijuana to customers in New York and Rhode Island several times. He said they also delivered 10-pound packages to Maine customers.

When the two were arrested, police recovered about 10 pounds of marijuana.

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