Madawaska woman sentenced in pot smuggling

Posted Jan. 28, 2011, at 10:07 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 11:31 a.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A Madawaska woman was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court to four years in federal prison for her role in a cross-border marijuana smuggling operation.

Denise Michaud, 39, also was sentenced to five years of supervised release after she completes her prison term.

Michaud, who had been free on bail, was taken into custody immediately after the sentencing.

She sobbed as U.S. District Judge John Woodcock imposed the sentence. Her family and friends wept behind her.

“I do think you’ve learned a hard lesson,” he told her. “I don’t think you’ll be coming back here.”

She was arrested in October 2006 in Madawaska with three hockey bags containing 94 pounds of marijuana.

Michaud pleaded guilty in August 2010 to conspiracy to import marijuana and conspiracy to distribute marijuana. She admitted being part of a larger operation run by her brother-in-law Andre Picard, 49, of Riceville, New Brunswick, according to court documents.

Picard would bring marijuana across the border hidden in a compartment in his tractor-trailer, according to court documents. His sister-in-law and others distributed the marijuana to southern New England and returned to Madawaska with cash for Picard.

He pleaded guilty in August to smuggling and distributing more than a ton of marijuana from the fall of 2005 until at least March 2007. Picard has been held without bail since his arrest April 1 in Madawaska.

Picard is scheduled to be sentenced next month.

Michaud faced up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $4 million. Picard faces the same sentence.

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