Texas man pleads guilty to supplying cocaine to be smuggled to Canada through Maine

Apolinar Islas Ortiz
Somerset County Jail
Apolinar Islas Ortiz
Posted May 20, 2013, at 6:15 p.m.
Robert Rossignol of Van Buren, Maine, leaves federal district court in Bangor, Maine,  after being arraigned on drug smuggling charges Friday, July 27, 2012.
Michael C. York | BDN
Robert Rossignol of Van Buren, Maine, leaves federal district court in Bangor, Maine, after being arraigned on drug smuggling charges Friday, July 27, 2012.

BANGOR, Maine — One of two Texas men charged in connection with an alleged cocaine-running scheme that stretched from the Lone Star State to Canada through Maine pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court to a drug charge.

Victor “Vic” Charles, 32, of Bacliff, Texas, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine between Jan. 1, 2011, and June 28, 2012.

Five kilograms of cocaine is equivalent to about 11 pounds of the drug.

Charles has been held without bail since his arrest in October.

A sentencing date has not been set.

He was indicted in August along with Robert “The Border Guy” Rossignol, 60, of Van Buren and Apolinar “Polo” Ortiz-Islas, 42, of Houston. Rossignol pleaded guilty in March to the same drug conspiracy charge Charles admitted to and a second count of failure to report the importation to $10,000 or more and aiding and abetting the same. Ortiz-Islas has pleaded not guilty to the drug conspiracy charge. Both men are being held without bail.

Two Canadian men — Matthieu LeBlanc, 29, of Shediac, New Brunswick, and Chad Hallett, 29, of Dieppe, New Brunswick — pleaded guilty last year to drug conspiracy charges and are being held without bail while awaiting sentencing.

Rossignol and the Texans were charged after one of the Canadians was seen by agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement receiving nearly $300,000 in cash in a box from Rossignol in a Houlton parking lot on June 27, according to court documents.

A short time later, Hallett was stopped for speeding by Maine State Police, and a K-9 unit discovered $298,585 inside a box in the trunk, according to court documents.

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 Charles and exchanged the money for cocaine.

“Hallett would then transport the cocaine by car back to Northern Maine and turn it over to [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.”

On at least two occasions, Charles brought the cocaine to Maine himself, according to the prosecution version of events to which he pleaded guilty.

All five men charged in connection with the operation face a mandatory minimum of 10 years and maximum sentence of life in federal prison and a fine of up to $10 million on the drug charges.

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