Bail hearing delayed for accused pot smuggler

By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff
Posted April 05, 2010, at 8:06 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A bail hearing for a Canadian man charged in U.S. District Court with smuggling and distributing more than a ton of marijuana was continued Monday until next week at the defendant’s request.

A hearing to determine whether Andre Picard, 49, of Riceville, New Brunswick, will be released on bail or detained until his case is resolved is scheduled to be held at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 14.

Picard was arrested Thursday in Madawaska. Details about his arrest were not outlined in documents filed last week in federal court. He is charged with smuggling 2,200 pounds of marijuana into Maine and distributing it as far south as North Carolina.

The defendant asked that the hearing be continued so a Washington, D.C., attorney retained by his family could represent him at the hearing, according to court documents. As of 5 p.m. Monday, the lawyer’s name was not available because he had not filed an appearance with the court.

Three men — arrested on Feb. 28, 2007, in Mapleton — were linked in court documents to the operation Picard is alleged to have run from September 2006 until March 2007. Agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement began investigating marijuana smuggling activities in Aroostook County after receiving a tip in the fall of 2005 that significant amounts of marijuana were being smuggled into the U.S. at St. John Valley border crossings, according to court documents.

All three men — Randy St. Jarre, 39, of Madawaska, Joseph Marco Corbin, 37, of Green River, New Brunswick, and Clement Allard, 53, of Kedgwick River, New Brunswick — pleaded guilty to charges of attempted conspiracy to import marijuana, conspiracy to import marijuana and possession of marijuana.

A footnote in the affidavit outlining Picard’s alleged activities stated the trio told authorities about their own drug smuggling activities but did not “otherwise cooperate with the government.”

Allard was stopped in Mapleton, according to previously published reports, after delivered two hockey bags containing a total of 108 pounds of marijuana to St. Jarre, who was driving a pickup truck with Massachusetts license plates. Corbin was arrested with St. Jarre.

According to court documents, Allard admitted that he met St. Jarre earlier on the night of Feb. 28, 2007, and moved the drugs to the Maine man’s pickup truck after making a delivery at a wood chip plant in Ashland. The marijuana was concealed in a secret compartment in Allard’s trailer. It could be reached by removing a rubberized floor covering and a large piece of plywood beneath it.

St. Jarre was sentenced on May 7, 2008, to two years in federal prison. He was released on Nov. 25, 2008, according to the prisoner locator on the U.S. Bureau of Prisons Web site. Corbin and Allard both were sentenced in March 2008 to three years and one month in prison. Allard was released on June 25, 2009, and Corbin was released on Nov. 5, 2009.

All three men were able to earn good time for up to 15 percent of their sentences. The time they were held without bail while awaiting sentencing also was applied to their sentences.

Picard allegedly brought the marijuana across the border himself in a hidden compartment in his tractor-trailer. At least four people, identified in court documents only as cooperating defendants and witnesses, told police they had transported the marijuana out of state for Picard.

If convicted of conspiracy to import marijuana and conspiracy to deliver marijuana, Picard faces a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of life in federal prison. He also could be ordered to pay a fine of up to $4 million and to forfeit property and assets obtained with money earned from drug smuggling.

http://bangordailynews.com/2010/04/05/news/bangor/bail-hearing-delayed-for-accused-pot-smuggler/ printed on July 23, 2014