2nd man pleads guilty to running cocaine from Texas to Canada through Maine

Posted Dec. 21, 2012, at 3:48 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A second Canadian man waived indictment Friday and pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to being part of a scheme to bring cocaine from Texas to Canada through Maine.

Matthieu LeBlanc, 30, of Shediac, New Brunswick, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 10 kilograms or more of cocaine.

He is one of five men charged in the drug smuggling operation, according to court documents.

Robert Rossignol, 59, of Van Buren, Victor “Vic” Charles, 32, of Bacliff, Texas, Apolinar “Polo” Ortiz-Islas, 42, of Houston, and Chad Hallett, 29, of Dieppe, New Brunswick, are facing the same charge as LeBlanc.

In addition to the drug charge, Rossignol was indicted on a charge of failure to report importation of in excess of $10,000 in currency.

Hallett waived indictment and pleaded guilty in August. The other men have pleaded not guilty.

Sentencing dates for LeBlanc and Hallett have not been set.

The Texans and Rossignol are scheduled to go on trial in February.

Rossignol and Charles are free on bail. The other defendants are being held without bail.

The Canadians and Rossignol were arrested this summer after the distribution scheme came to the attention of authorities, according to court documents. Hallett was stopped for speeding by Maine State Police, and a K-9 unit discovered $298,585 inside a box in the trunk.

By pleading guilty LeBlanc and Hallett admitted receiving a large sum of money from Rossignol in Maine, then traveling to Texas. Once there, Hallett and LeBlanc met with suppliers and exchanged the money for cocaine. The suppliers are not named in the prosecution version of events to which LeBlanc pleaded guilty.

Court documents described how the operation worked.

“Hallett would then transport the cocaine by car back to Northern Maine and turn it over to the [Rossignol],” one document states. “[Rossignol] would then transport the cocaine into Canada where it would be picked up by Hallett or [LeBlanc] and transported to its final destination.”

All five men charged in connection with the operation face a mandatory minimum of 10 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $100,000 on the drug charge, if all are convicted.

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