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Press Release

Canadian Who Arranged Drug Smuggling Helicopter Flights Across Northern Border Sentenced to 7 Years in Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington
Created Fake Timber Scouting Business to Disguise Flights Smuggling Cocaine, Ecstasy and Marijuana

          A Canadian national who was extradited in January 2018 in connection with a 2008-2009 international drug smuggling scheme, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to seven years in prison for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes.  COLIN HUGH MARTIN, 46, from British Columbia, Canada, was indicted in 2010 and pleaded guilty in March 2018.  MARTIN, the leader of the drug smuggling ring, used the code name “Rolex,” and recruited others to fly cocaine, MDMA and marijuana across the rugged northern border.  A number of his conspirators were arrested, convicted and imprisoned on related charges. MARTIN remained in Canada until his extradition on 2018.  At the sentencing hearing U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik said it was, “a very significant crime.”

           “Mr. Martin directed the smuggling of large quantities of drugs from what seemed like a safe perch in Canada – never expecting to face the music back here in the United States,” said U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. “This case demonstrates our dogged determination to find those responsible for significant drug crimes and work with our international partners to hold them to account.” 

            According to records filed in the case, MARTIN conspired with others to transport cocaine north across the Canadian border via helicopter.  The cargo coming south was ecstasy or BC Bud marijuana.  MARTIN gained a prominent role in the cross-border smuggling conspiracy following a March 2008 seizure of MDMA in Tukwila, and cocaine in California.  MARTIN purchased and leased various helicopters and recruited pilots to fly the illegal drugs across the border.  MARTIN also recruited others to load and off load the helicopters. MARTIN and his coconspirators used encrypted Blackberry phones and code names to communicate.  

            MARTIN’s plea agreement connects him to the following drug seizures: 83 kilos of cocaine that was seized in Utah in February 2009, on its way to a helicopter transport site in rural northeastern Washington; 190 kilos of marijuana flown into eastern Washington; 20 kilos of cocaine seized in Ontario, California in February 2009; and 79 kilograms of marijuana from Canada that was seized by agents from a helicopter that landed in Idaho on March 5, 2009.

            Co-defendant Sean William Doak was sentenced in 2016 to seven years in prison. Other co-conspirators received sentences ranging from 18 months to ten years in prison based on their level of involvement in the drug ring.

            The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) with assistance from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Utah Highway Patrol.

            The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sarah Vogel with assistance from the Department of Justice Office of International Affairs.


Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Public Affairs Officer Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or

Updated June 29, 2018

Drug Trafficking